Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Recently, Hubby and I took a computer "test" to find out how long we will live. Yes, we now resort to the computer to fulfill our medical needs. I am seriously considering putting WebMD as my primary care physician on any form that requires me to list my doctor.

While I am sure my personal physician, WebMD has me covered, we occasionally attend a free health assessment or  "health fair".  It's a fair so therefore should be fun, right?.   Hubby recently took an overall assessment that was being offered at a Big Box store.  According to their superior assessment, his  health age is 8 years younger than his real age.  (So I guess I am married to a younger man now)  I think he was feeling pretty self-assured until the printed assessment sheet said he needed to drink less.  Considering he rarely...and I do mean rarely, ever drinks, it would appear 2 beers a month (tops) is a health hazard. Just throwing that out there for you readers that are endangering your health.

As a measure to double down on  my preventative health care, I continue to occasionally visit a real doctor.  My annual checkup is coming up in three weeks and I am questioning the need to pay for that now that I know how healthy I am via the computer and specialists at Sam's Club and Costco.  I will be sure to tell my doc that I need a discounted price as my computer did a pre-exam.

As far as the longevity tests we took.... turns out that Hubby is going to live until he's 93 and I will live until I am 95.  Frankly I was counting on a little better test results considering some of our family members have historically beat those numbers. Perhaps, we should of been a little more creative with some of our answers. (yeah...cheat).   I, also take issue with the fact that we aren't going simultaneously. 
I might be prepared to become more political

While I shy away from getting political on my blog, I will say I am not as conflicted about the state of current healthcare in our country as I am on other subjects.

I am confident that we have access to great healthcare. I am equally confident dealing with an insurance company to pay for that wonderful care is likely to cause you some major pain that even the most excessively over priced pharmaceutical can't touch. 

I know this from experience.

Early in the year, my left eyelid decided it no longer wanted to stay in it's awake position.  It seemed to prefer it's night time position.   This was causing a few problems for me.  Strangers seemed to think I was winking at them. Usually this didn't work in my favor.

It, also, occurred to me,  that if I didn't correct the odd hanging eye lid, that I would have to permanently change my cartoons to represent my new but not improved face. Even in cartoon form, the eye is a bit off putting.  So after checking with Dr. WebMD, I went to a human doctor to ask what the heck was going on.  WELL as it turned out....the eye situation could be corrected with not one, but TWO surgeries. Both my left eye and right eye had varying degrees of ptosis.

So back to the point of the "win" part of this.     For the 45 years Hubby and I have had to pay for our family's medical insurance, I have never used it enough to meet the deductible.  This translates to the fact, every year I not only was responsible to pay for the premiums but, also, had to pay for whatever medical services I needed. Totally not a good use of funds.

It doesn't escape my notice,  that if I bought a new car and never drove it, it would seem wasteful.  If I buy a closet full of clothes that I never wear, it's wasteful.  If I buy really pricey insurance and never use it, it means I am conforming to the law and being responsible but still it feels SUPER wasteful.  This year, I was a WINNER.  My insurance company was on the hook to pay some of my bills.

YEP...everything has an upside.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What Did You Say?

While having breakfast the other morning with new neighbor/new friend, she mentioned that while playing Bunco with a group of women recently, one of the Bunco players asked her point blank "How old are you, anyway?"

Even given the fact it was a "none of your business"  type of question,  my friend  gave a truthful answer.  To which the women responded "That's not SO old." 

HMMM...would I have answered the initial question?  Maybe... maybe not. Maybe I would of added 15 years to my real age, just to hear "You look really good for your age."  But then what if they said, "Yeah, that's what I would have guessed.  OR...maybe I would of told the truth as she did.  Ultimately, though,  I don't think a co-Bunco player needs my vital statistics.  Really, is it any of her business? Besides the addition of the words "anyway" and "so" gives a certain "judgey" quality to both her question and her response.  

Later that same day, Hubby and I were in a chain restaurant, eavesdropping on the table next to ours.  (Full disclosure: the b**** was being really loud and hard to "not" hear)  The manager was going from table to table asking everyone how their meal was and asking if patrons needed anything.  The loud lady said she needed honey butter.  The manager told her they didn't have honey butter but he could bring her both honey and butter.  She responded by saying. "You do that!  You don't look like you're doing much."

Seriously, was it necessary to add that extra tad of snottiness?  Was she trying to be funny?

Frankly, I wish I could haul my fictional cartoon alter-ego around with me and have her speak the unspoken comments that pop into my brain when I am confronted with either rude comments or rude behavior. It turns out my brain is very outspoken even if I am not.The part of my brain that IS Crabby Pants, probably needs some behavioral classes....something akin to puppy training classes for the brain.  Anyway as I was saying,  I don't have it in me to ACTUALLY  get into someone's face and call them out for a rude comment or some bone-head behavior.  

I suspect most of us have a daily encounter with some inconsiderate cell phone user or a driver that needs his license ceremoniously torched but as far as someone verbally insulting me such as the restaurant manager had been, it hasn't been a huge problem.  How would I handle an out right insult?...I might be be a sad, sulky mess or shrug it off if I thought the person that insulted me was an idiot.  Would I reciprocate in kind?  Probably not.  

I guess most people's capacity for rebounding with a "in-your-face" comment is  somewhat tied to their age, upbringing and generally if their personality is more extroverted or more introverted. 

 I have certainly become more extroverted as I have gotten older but the remnants of my upbringing play a part in how I handle confrontation. My childhood consisted  of living in the South (formerly the bastion of good manners) by very strict grandparents, then moving North to live with my dad who was a product of those same grandparents.  All the  "yes ma'ams and "no sirs'  began to sound out of place.  (Or maybe it was the thick southern drawl that sounded out of place.)  Still the years of "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  or "treat people as you want to be treated" were firmly implanted within my being. There is still a part of me that feels the
need to say "yes ma'am and "no sir".

Sooo...when I occasionally have had my feelings stomped into the ground by some rude comment or irritated by some thoughtless  action, my mind imagines what Crabby Pants would say. However,  Cheryl P. brushes the dust off and tries to deflect the hurt  or irritation with either humor, distance or obscene hand gestures.  JUST KIDDING!!!

Up to this point in time, I haven't boiled over and gone Crazy Pants on anyone.  I am not above thinking that a rude comment deserves a rude come back, but the voices of my childhood are  hanging on for dear life whispering  "if you can't say something nice just keep your mouth shut. At some point I may choose to ignore those voices and lay into someone. 

HOWEVER...Rationally, I recognize that society has changed as far as "old school" manners. What was once considered rude versus what is considered rude today, has evolved.   I a pretty sure that any person that followed Emily Post's original book to a tee, would come across as a freak show.  

Just to illustrate the point....Let's take a look at the right way to greet someone according to Emily.

 Chapter III - Greetings - What to Say When Introduced.

As explained in the foregoing chapter, the correct formal greeting is: "How do you do?"  If Mrs. Younger is presented to Mrs. Worldly, Mrs. Worldly says “How do you do?” If the Ambassador of France is presented to her, she says “How do you do?” Mrs. Younger and the Ambassador likewise say “How do you do?” or merely bow.

I doubt that the bowing would go unnoticed but then I suppose the odds of me being introduced to the Ambassador of France are fairly remote.  Emily ran in a different circle than I do.  Let's assume for the sake of argument, that Emily would be appalled at someone saying "How's it goin'? Would she roll over in her grave if she heard someone say "How's it hangin'?. Just think of how she would of reacted IF someone would of left a nasty comment  on her blog (surely she would of had a blog if there would have been computers in 1922!!!) You have to know that there would be anonymous commenters calling her bad names and telling her she didn't know s***.

OK, we can agree that things needed to relax a bit since Emily's time,  but has the pendulum swung too far the other wayGoing back to the nosy Bunco player, I guess my friend should be lucky she wasn't asked how much her house cost, what her sex life is like and how much she weighs.  
Crabby Pants would have some comebacks.   

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Catching Up With Friends

I was having breakfast this week with a new neighbor.  She and I are going to be great friends.

You might not think of that sentence as being a profound statement.  YET it is.

After all the moving around I have done in my life. (36 times as a kid and 21 times as an adult), I have made a lot of friends...of varying degrees.   I have, also, left a lot of friends behind.  One of my greatest weaknesses is "moving on" at the expense of losing touch with old friends.  This is one of the many things I count as "regrets".

BUT as I was saying,  my new neighbor and I click.  I like the way she thinks.  I like her personality.  I like her value system and how she looks at the world.  This had me thinking about the topic of  friendships.

Wasn't it amazingly easy when you were little to latch onto other kids in the neighborhood and become BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.   I lived in a lot of places and had a slough of  FOREVER friends.  While I certainly was poor at the FOREVER part, I still think of them all fondly and every time I hear something through the grapevine about them, my heart feels great joy for their successes and breaks for their losses.

It's amazing I ever had friends.

The thing about my childhood or teenage friends is that even though I haven't talked to most of them in decades, I still consider them friends.  The older I got the less I reached out to most of  my  childhood "friends.  Not all, mind you.    As for the friends I made as an adult, it became very apparent that many of the friends we met along the way, fell into the category of acquaintances and there wasn't enough of a connection to maintain a life long bond.  (Again, this has exceptions.  Some will remain FOREVER in my life.)

I blame my tendency to  form fewer strong friendships on several key factors.

Maybe it's JUST me, but aging didn't bring about inherent "wisdom" as the old saying suggests.  What is brings is "self-awareness".    There are things that I know apply to me.

1.  My family time is precious and I love spending time with them,  This results in me not reaching out as much as I once did.  As my family grew....husband, children, grandchildren...my circle of special people grew.  My social needs have morphed into more family interaction.

2.  My circle of friends that are outside of my family, now get more attention and time than past casual friends would have received.   There was a time that people that I casually described as a  "friend" word to  were in actuality,  relegated to "work friends",  "church friends",  "neighbor friends"  or whatever the connection was. My good friends today are more constant in my life.    For example:  my walking partner and I have now walked every weekday morning for 17 years.  Rain or shine, at 5:35 AM we walk for an hour.  Even though she lives in a different state for the last 10 of those years, we connect our Bluetooths and walk simultaneously while catching up on what is happening in the world. 

3.   Finding people that share your view of the world becomes harder as you get older, I think.  Perhaps, it is the Crabby Pants part of me is just getting less tolerant of people that I don't share some similar opinions with. There has to be a least a little common ground.   If being with a person leads to a constant sparring of different opinions, it doesn't make for a positive, worthwhile use of the   time spent with them.  (Just so there is no misunderstanding, I don't expect people to share every opinion with me, but there has to be SOME common thoughts.)

4. Digital friends....Now this subject is a slippery slope.   I love seeing my previous FOREVER friends from my youth on social media.  I suck at using social media sites but still...I love seeing their participation and seeing what they are up to.  I have to believe that as sites like Facebook became more popular, it has encroached on people actually socializing with people face-to-face.   I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing.  Old friendships are renewed and people reconnect.  Sounds good enough, right?

 Well.....I, also, don't think it's necessarily a great thing either. I can tell you that even in my limited pool of  FOREVER friends, there seems to be a lot of angst over "who said what" and how they (the reader)  interpreted something.  I think there is a greater  likelihood for misunderstandings when something is printed versus spoken face-to-face.  Plus, the very high probability of saying too much or comments being visible to people that aren't the intended target.

While I am on the subject, though.  I do feel that as far as digital friends go...people can connect in a type of true friendship via the Internet.  I would say that I have connected with people that I am 100 percent sure that if we lived near each other,  we would be FOREVER friends.  In reality we have never met in person but have formed a bond.  YAY bloggers!!!  I treasure your friendship. 

It might be a good thing that I fail at being a Facebook friend.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Resolve Dissolved

Another year has come and the realization of how inattentive I have become to my blog has smacked me upside the head.   ***sigh***

Six months ago I vaguely remember making an effort to revive my much neglected blog, but clearly it was a false start.  Given the fact that the rest of the world is making promises to themselves in the form New Year's Resolutions, has me thinking about some of the things that I hope to accomplish in 2016. 

I typically don't make New Year's resolutions per se.  I tend to make a multitude of promises to myself on a monthly, daily, hourly basis. It's not so much that I can't stick with a particular resolution as much as I continually alter the direction of where I want to go. Life's journey is a very crooked path for me.

 In theory, it makes perfect sense to me that people want to start a fresh new year with an idea of what they would like to accomplish.  For me personally, however,my goals are more like a moving target.  They would have to be reevaluated and changed from time to time.  

Crabby Pants and her trusty steed are taking aim at this year's goals.

BUT...back to the subject at hand.   Resurrecting the blog and committing to doing a better job staying in touch with all of you.   Did I mention how much I have missed you all.   I truly have missed interacting with my blog followers and  fellow bloggers.  Still...when I have sat down to write, my words seem inconsequential and uninteresting.  I don't imagine this post will break that trend but I will muddle on.

What have I been doing with my time??  Nothing of great importance to the masses but my life in all its mundane routine is a very nice life. Even as my writing has been in the dumper, my time seems to be consistently filled.  Not necessarily with matters of great importance mind you...but filled,  none the less. Initially, my intent was to take a short break from blogging in an effort to resurrect my reading of BOOKS. (yes, real hard-bound books...you do remember those, right???), meet and interact with real human beings, and spend more time on activities that were being routinely ignored.  It seems the time that I had previously spent on the computer was quickly replaced with other activities.  Finding balance in my life continues to plague me.
One of the more notable activities that has taken up residence in my time allotment is that I started teaching computer classes at a local retirement community.  This has been a real eye-opener. Even though,  I am now considered a "senior" (not sure that I am a huge fan of that distinction) it has been a very positive experience interacting with people that have 20 or 30 years on me. 

When I was approached to do these classes, I was told that the residents needed basic information on using computers, smart phones and tablets.  Sounded easy enough.  Turns out that most of this group is extraordinarily savvy when it comes to all things tech. Those that weren't "connected" have caught on quickly as they WANT to learn new things.   I have to tell you that whatever meager amount of information that I have taught them has come back 10 fold, in the things that I have learned about the grace in aging. 

As most of my regular readers know, I remain conflicted on just about every issue.  Most subjects have a  "good news", "bad news" component.  If that isn't confusing enough, there is often a mushy middle-of -the-road component as well. 

This is certainly the case in aging. 

I look forward  to catching up with all of you in 2016.  Let's collectively hope that our lives are filled with health, happiness and humor  this year..... ESPECIALLY HUMOR.