Semantics on aging


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I came across someone recently who took offense to the word “old.” It’s not a bad word. It doesn’t mean decrepit (which is a sad word). It doesn’t mean you are incapacitated. It only means that you have lived a … Continue reading

What a difference a few years makes | Aging (kicking and screaming)


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My first real corporate job was working in a purchasing department for a large company. I did some low-level administrative stuff. What surprised me most was that I worked with a bunch of old people.  In a department of thirty, there … Continue reading

I have nothing to wear!


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I thought when I retired, clothes would be easy — jeans, casual tops depending on the season and sneakers. I didn’t want to dress like some old woman with elastic waistbands and stretchy clothes that doesn’t quite fit. Nor do I want to … Continue reading

Old People Smell

Nothing strikes fear in aging baby boomers as the words “old people smell.”  You know what it is.  Maybe you smelled it in your grandparent’s home or the home of an elderly neighbor.  (For purposes of this blog, elderly always means considerably older than me.) I remember it in my old Aunt Mary’s house – musty, slightly like perspiration, old clothes,  like an attic.

It doesn’t come from being dirty. My sister-in-law’s parent’s home had it too. Maybe a contributing factor is wearing sweaters and wool clothes too long between cleanings but it’s not from not bathing.

I don’t know when it starts.  It’s probably like other house smells.  It starts so gradual that you never know you have it. With three cats, I always worry that my house smells like cats. Not enough to get rid of the cats but enough to buy candles, plug-ins, the reed thingies in the bottle – you name it, if it promises to smell good, I buy it. In our last renovation we built a room I call the “cat bathroom.”  Yep, it’s enclosed with a cat door and has an exhaust fan and it’s located in the basement.  Don’t let the basement part fool you, it is an upscale cat potty!

But I am not convinced so I ask unsuspecting visitors, “Does it smell like cats in here?” What good-natured visitor would tell me the truth? Of course I always pick visitors with pets or people like my brother who can’t smell anything.

If I wanted the truth, I would ask a child. They have a way of blurting out the most vivid truth in words that are not subtle. My grandniece Karen once told me my house stinks.  Just like that.  “Your house stinks.” Fortunately, I was considerably younger (so I wasn’t worrying about old people smell) and I happened to be frying cabbage at the time. At this point, she is too old to be that blunt or truthful so there is no point in asking her about the cats. Oh, yes, she also has cats.

Of course, maybe I really don’t want to know. Maybe it’s in the genes.  My mother’s house never smelled of old people and she lived to see 75. Her house had wonderful cooking smells almost all the time. Maybe that’s the answer!  Cook more, sweat less and don’t wear wool!

Grey Heads

Legal Disclaimer – if YOU are a grey head this does not apply to you.  It only applies to other grey heads who are not near as nice as you are.

Did you know that Pennsylvania is the second “oldest” state in the nation? The aging population is second only to Florida.  I firmly believe that at least 95% of those folks live in my area. Since I have had the freedom to shop during the day, I have found them shuffling in places they should not be.  (That would be anywhere I need to be.) I visited our local farmers’ market on a Thursday morning.  It was jammed.  I thought there was a fire sale on vegetables! Everyone was doing some sort of orthotic shuffle, some using carts as a walker. Not a good idea as they can’t see what’s in front of them.  I had my hips bashed a couple of times and my toes run over (note to self – steel-tipped shoes for the farmers’ market). It seems that when you get older you do not need to be polite or apologize for nearly killing someone.  Everyone just takes it in stride.

They pinch, squash and bruise the produce. They elbow in front of you and then act innocent…”were you in line? Oh, I didn’t realize that.” I most enjoy the loving couples. In a way, they are cute and endearing, a lot like a pair of teenagers who just discovered body parts. I often wonder if they treated each other so well when they were younger. Probably not. The outfits are a bit wild – you would be surprised at what works (or doesn’t) with orthotic shoes and walkers. Hats are big too. Men seem to prefer what is called a “flat hat.” That’s the correct name because Wikipedia said so. It’s the one where the part that sits on the head is smooshed over the brim. Golfers often wear them. No one under 80 does.

Driving near them is an adventure.  They drive BIG cars where their heads are just little bumps above the seats. Their maximum speed is 25 mph (often in the passing lane); they turn left on red; and putz just enough so I miss the green light while they continue to cruise on their merry way. My car cannot drive that slowly!  That speed is between gears.  The poor car wants me to speed up or stop. There are no other choices.

Personally, I don’t intend to be a grey head, at least as long as Clairol is a functioning business and I can squeeze my toes into (somewhat) fashionable shoes.  I do intend to wear a lot of purple and maybe a hat!