SYW: Holiday Cookies, Drinks, and Magic

SantaSYW

Melanie has a new set of holiday-related questions for her weekly Share Your World.

  • What is your favorite type of cookie (they’re called biscuits in Europe I believe)?
    If you mean Christmas cookies, it would be a tie between the sugar cookies in different shapes with frosting and a brownie with peppermint candy frosting (not technically a cookie, but my niece makes these every year as part of her gift of cookies).

    Outside of holiday season, it’s homemade chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven!
    I don’t bake cookies in general, so we buy Tates – their chocolate chip cookie is thin and crispy.
We buy boxes of Tates like this at Costco. At other places, they come in smaller bags, but there are more varieties.
  • If you could choose one age and remain that forever, what would it be and why?
    65 – young enough to still have the energy and drive to travel and explore new things, and also be eligible for retirement and Medicare.
  • Do you have a traditional drink during the holiday season?
    Not this year, because we are not gathering as usual with our family, but normally it is Jolly Jolt. Jolly Jolt is basically warm apple cider with cinnamon cloves. My sister prepares it in a large coffee pot and everyone helps themselves! This year, I suspect it will be Cooper’s Hawk’s Winter Red wine, which we have a bottle of in our garage – also best heated.
    NV Cooper's Hawk Winter Red, USA, Illinois - CellarTracker
  • Are you able to still believe in holiday magic as you did when you were a child?
    No, not really. Warmth, maybe, magic, no. When I was a kid, holidays like Christmas were always extremely exciting. We kids got to do the fun stuff, like picking out and decorating the tree, helping put up the creche, and singing Christmas carols. As an adult, there’s the work side of it – things don’t magically happen! I do very little decorating, except to put up my collection of creches and hang a Santa Claus on the door. Usually I have a Christmas tree but haven’t had one for the last three years. I do more decorating if we’re having guests.

    The most magical and exciting moments during my childhood were early Christmas mornings. My dad put up a portable screen so we couldn’t see into the living room until my parents got up. So we kids would climb partway up the stairway to peek over the screen to find our stockings and all the presents my parents had added during the night. This is what I think about when I’m asked about holiday magic!

    Now I look forward to simple gatherings of families and friends, noshing, drinking Jolly Jolt and playing games. It gives me warm feeling, but not the magic of childhood.

Gratitude section: I’m grateful to be alive and reasonably healthy! And I’m grateful that 2020 is almost over!

FPQ #71: Act Your Age…

FPQ

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is again a question with multiple sub-questions:

How old are you* and how old do you feel — older or younger than your actual chronological age? Do you generally act your age? And what does “acting your age” mean to you?

*If you’re uncomfortable revealing your actual age, maybe you can just say something like, “I’m in my twenties.” Or fifties. Or “I’m a senior citizen.”
getting older-music

I don’t mind revealing my age – I will turn 68 next week.  I have never felt my age until recently, and until recently, people would guess me to be younger than I am. I let my co-workers (in teaching, all were younger than me) think I was younger. That’s why it’s strange in a way to be living in a senior retirement community. We moved here primarily because of my husband, who is eight years older than I am. He was sick of maintaining a house, especially one that was close to 100 years old – something was always needing to be fixed or renovated. For me, it was the stairs – I have bad knees and it had become increasingly difficult to live in a 2-story + basement house. The washer & dryer were in the basement, but I spent a lot of time in my “office” on the 2nd floor. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen to move into a condo somewhere near where we used to live.
getting older-friend

I say I never felt my age until recently because my body has been reminding me of my age. I have a heart monitor for my congestive heart condition and, as I said, bad knees. I have fallen quite often and my knees have gotten arthritic. I still try to keep active, because I know that if I don’t, my body will deteriorate faster now than when I was younger. The other day, Dale cleaned up our bikes and pumped air into the tires. Then he wanted to go for a spin around the campus. Just trying to get my leg over the middle bar was difficult! (I don’t have the classic “girls’ bike” – the bar is not as high as on a men’s bike; it’s halfway in between.) I still make an effort to walk every day and if possible, two or more miles.
getting older-dumb

These days I have to watch my salt and fat content. If I don’t, my body reminds me of it! I can no longer drink coffee and I only very rarely eat fast food.

Acting my age is something I have never done! Remember that stupid teasing phrase, “Act your age, not your IQ”? When I was young enough to say that or be teased with it, I probably did act my age! But now… what does it mean to be 68? How much longer have I got? I don’t think about it much. But it’s true that “70 is the new 50.” People live longer these days and becoming a senior citizen and retiring doesn’t mean your life is over. Retirement for me created opportunities – to attend multiple book groups at the library, attend classes in writing, art, and international/political affairs, travel at any time of the  year.

I don’t have to get up early most of the time. As a retiree, I have filled my days with activities and pleasurable pursuits. (I now understand why retired people tend to be busier than working people!) I love to travel more than anything else, but I’m not ready to take cruises all the time where I never have to get exercise or even get off the ship. I prefer tours that require tramping around cities or nature areas.

I still like the things I liked when I was 30 or 40. My husband and I both like to act silly sometimes – well, more than sometimes – A LOT. The good thing about living in a senior community is meeting people older than me that still live active lives. When I talk to people here, I forget about their age. (Everyone here considers me a “youngster!”) They like the same things, do the same sorts of things, enjoy life the same way I do. Many of them get excited about hearing Beatles songs! So what exactly is “acting my age?” I have no idea – I just act the way I have been.  I don’t think about death being any more imminent than it was before.
getting older-fun

However, there are some things that I feel an urgency to do now that I’m getting older. Keeping records of our investments, writing down for our kids the wishes we have regarding our death, and finishing long term “legacy” projects – all these are important to do as soon as possible, but being the procrastinator that I am, they are far from being completed. We do have a will or should I say, a trust, that has been drawn up and is kept in a place that’s easy to find. But I guess that’s what it means not to act my age – to take for granted that I have plenty of time to do all the things that I believe must be done.

getting older-50

SYW: On being old, rainy days, why I don’t play golf, and love of flowers

It’s time for Melanie B. Cee’s weekly Share Your World!

When you’re 90 years old, what do you suppose will matter most to you?
I think it will be whether I am healthy enough to have a good quality of life. I’d like to be able to travel, but if not, I would want to be able to look forward to something. If I am in pain or suffering from a disease or health condition that isn’t going to improve, at that point I would rather die.

old person eating ice cream

When I’m 90, I want to still be able to eat and enjoy chocolate ice cream!

What’s the best way to spend a rainy afternoon?
I know this sounds cliché, but I like sitting on the porch reading a book. I love the sound of the rain and the smell of fresh earth; I find it very relaxing. If I don’t have a book, I am content to just sit there and watch the rain coming down. Thunderstorms can be awesome to watch!
Reading-On-A-Rainy-Day.gif

What is one thing you don’t understand about yourself?
Why I am competitive. It’s something I don’t want to be and I don’t admire it in myself. I want to win and if I am playing something (a sport, a game) that I can never win, I lose interest and give up. Logically, I would rather be the type of person that just enjoys what I’m doing regardless of whether I’m good or bad at it. But instead, I compete, even if it is with myself. Then I am hard on myself when I don’t succeed.

Cute Little Girl Playing Golf On A Field Outdoor

I never liked golf because I am lousy at it; therefore, I refuse to play it.

When was the last time you tried something to look ‘cool’ (hip), but it ended in utter embarrassment? Details?
Unfortunately, it’s unfit to print!

This is an opportunity to share a picture, a story or event that shows your gratitude.
I am grateful for flowers:
to be able to appreciate them
the eyes to see them
and hands to draw or photograph them.
sunflower-aug.-18.jpg

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First three photos: downloaded from Google Images.

When I’m 64

It’s my birthday today. I’m now the age of that famous Beatles song that has been covered by so many artists. My brother-in-law belongs to a barbershop group, and many times I’ve heard them perform this song. This recording is not my brother-in-law’s group, but instead an international collaboration of When I’m 64….
The singers in the barbershop rendition are:
► Sonny Vande Putte (Belgium) – Lead
► Dieter Verhofstadt (Belgium/Suriname) – Baritone
► Dan Wright (USA) – Tenor
► Julien Neel (France) – Bass

When my husband turned 64, my bro-in-law’s quartet sang this song to him. However, he was lucky because his birthday is on Valentine’s Day and the quartet was out singing to people all over the Northwest suburbs, gifts from their sweethearts. However, today the members of the quartet are all doing something else, including my b-i-l, who’s in Indiana for his grandson’s graduation. So I content myself with renditions on YouTube and reflect on how much of this song really applies to me.

— LYRICS
When I get older
Losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I’d been out
Till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy
Mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride

Doing the garden
Digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard
Drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely wasting away

Give me your answer
Fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

This song of what one’s life might be like at 64 was a vision of four young men for whom 64 was very far off indeed. Although two of those lads from Liverpool have long passed the age of 64, two, unfortunately, never had a chance to reach that age.

beatles69

When I’m 64 is actually a cute love song. A young man is asking his girlfriend to commit to a long-term relationship. He wants her to grow old with him and imagines a distant future life together, when he is 64 (she is older, too, but her age is unknown/ unimportant) and the things they might enjoy then. He asks her to reflect on whether she wants to have a relationship that will last into old age, whether she’ll be content with an old man, will she still love him.

The interesting things mentioned in this vision of “old age” are accurate in many aspects:

  • A relationship in which the man is older than the woman may become dull after awhile and maybe she will want to seek excitement with a younger man vs. long-lasting love, the dream of most people as they age.
  • An older man  might be handy (stereotype) and be able to fix things around the house for her.
  • The coziness of their empty nest life – she “knits a sweater at the fireside” (another stereotype) and they can go out for drives on a Sunday morning. These are things older people might enjoy more than young people, or that the former have time for and the latter don’t.
  • Gardening – some young people like to garden, but as young adults many don’t have a house of their own or a place to grow plants. When I walk around the neighborhood, who do I see gardening? Usually, but not always, older people! senior-man-gardeningAnd I have a garden now, too, which I started about a decade ago. It’s soothing and satisfying to dig in the dirt, nurturing plants that come up every year, in a predictable cycle. And I appreciate nature much more now than I did when I was young. I pay attention to it now. I even write poetry about it occasionally.
  • A cottage – something my family had for 50 years. 284A cheap vacation, comparatively speaking. Many older people are on fixed incomes, although most 64 year olds who are not comfortable financially are still working.
  • Grandchildren – yes, that is something to be expected at 64 – assuming one has grown children by then – although I have no grandchildren and may never have any. Grandchildren are nice to have, because you can babysit them, enjoy them, but then send them home with their parents afterward! grandma&grandchildrenMost of my friends and contemporaries have grandchildren that they love to indulge and talk about, and show pictures of those sweet youngsters to their friends, that they have stored on their cell phones. I wish I had one or two “on my knee”, to read to, to cuddle with, who would love for me to visit. I do have several grand-nephews and grand-nieces, whose company I enjoy (for a limited time!).