Aug 082020
 

When you live in a rural area and there is no power, you lose your toilets, too.Hurricane Isaias came barreling up the Atlantic Coast earlier this week after walloping parts of the Caribbean. Storms happen all the time in New Jersey. Sometimes, we get nailed; other times, we don’t. We got trounced by a derecho (a severe vertical wind storm) in 2012 in my neck of the woods, to be followed up by Hurricane Sandy which mostly missed us but almost destroyed the northern end of the state. So when the power went down on Tuesday morning, it was ho-hum. It’ll be back on in a few minutes. Except that it wasn’t.

Living in The Boonies

I live in a rural area. No power means no nuttin’ honey, including the bathrooms. Yes, we have our own well, but you need an electric pump to get that water up out of the ground and into the house. When my kids were little, we had a big swimming pool in the back yard and we used to run a bucket brigade to flush the toilets. The pool’s been gone for ages. During the derecho and Hurricane Sandy we had these huge industrial barrels which we used to take to a friend’s house who had city water and fill them up. It got to be quite a drag. We also used to stockpile gallons of bottled water for taking showers.

For Want of a Generator

We sat in our 105-degree living room for almost a month without power back in 2012 when the derecho hit. We were totally cut off. We had to make sure we could get out to get gas in the cars so we could pull them up to a window and run a charging cord out to power our phones. This was our only connection to the outside world. Telephone lines were out, too. We lost the food in the fridge and freezer. Everybody smelled really good (NOT). We had a camp stove out on the back porch for making coffee and elementary cooking. A friend eventually loaned us a small generator and it was such a relief. Right then and there I made a vow that I would do whatever it took to get a generator of our own.

It took me a while to save the money, but we waited for a deal at Harbor Freight and eventually got one. Armed with saved cash and a 20% off coupon, we proudly brought home the generator that has been gracing my back yard ever since. It doesn’t run the entire house, but it runs enough of it. We had it for a year-and-a-half before we needed it. I thought. . . all that money and those storms were a one-off? And then I remembered. Hey, this is New Jersey. So it got use. Not a lot, but it was a relief to know it was there.

But Life Without Power in Today’s World?

We waited for quite some time for the power to come back on the other day, thinking. . . “Any minute now it will be back.” The electric company always puts estimates on their outage line. No estimates. Hmmm So after waiting for 5 or 6 hours (yeah, we’re stubborn), hubby went out to hook up the generator. That at least gave us lights, water pump, fridge and freezer. It also gave me back a computer.

That’s good, right? Yes, it is. Before the computer got back online I was thinking, “Oh, I’ll just do this, this and that.” But I couldn’t do this, this and that without power. Banking? Need the computer. Business? Need the computer. Letting people know we were okay? Need the computer. And the computer needs. . . power. So we were effectively stuck. It took me a while to get things caught up and, truth be told, a day later I’m still not totally caught up. As they say in the Disney movie, it threw off my groove.

Where Was My Phone?

Well, yes, my phone was operating, but. . . it wouldn’t load much of anything. No weather reports. Facebook? It loaded from the cache and wouldn’t update. The only thing reliably working was Messenger and texting, so at least I could let a few people know we were okay. As far as keeping in contact in other ways, forget it. And we have good phones on a decent network. Well, at least I thought we did.

So. . . Back to That Generator

If you live in a heavily-populated area you probably won’t ever face any of this. When I complained after the 2012 fiasco, the electric company told me that they complete repairs by population of districts or some such garbage. My *district* has a whopping 16 homes in it so guess who gets last place? Yep, you’ve got it. But as rural as we are, there are other areas around here who get last minus one or two. I have friends still waiting with no end in sight.

Our generator is a must for this type of life. Without it, we would have been much worse off, a mini version of 2012. Yes, it takes gasoline to run. We keep some gas cans full for the tractor to mow the grass and the generator. As soon as that last can got emptied into the tank, we ran for more gas. Hubs fixed it so I could take a shower. I was grateful. Sure beats pouring gallons of bottled water over yourself, lathering up and then pouring more to rinse.

So How Did YOU Get Through This One?

If you live on the east coast, how did you weather Isaias? What do you do when the power goes out? To me, it almost seemed to be adding insult to injury on top of the plague we’re going through. But this is Hurricane Alley. I know there’s more coming. I’ve lived with hurricanes almost all of my life. They never seemed quite as bad as this one. I think I’m just getting old.

(This is too close to home. We were lucky. No damage.)

Jul 172020
 

As a child I always asked why. I was a pain about it. I am still the little girl who asks why.I was a pain in the butt as a child. Everyone around me got tired of me asking questions. It was an Olympic sport with me. The family thought I would be a journalist as I was the princess of What, Where, Why, When and How. Probably should have been. I was one of those kids who just had to know. As I grew, I realized that some questions just don’t have answers. It saddened me then; it saddens me now. And even as an old lady, inside of me is the little girl who still asks why.

Recent Events

So many recent deaths have taken a toll on my psyche. Young beautiful people, successful people, and now they’re gone. Some are a bit older. Some are very old and have lived a good long life. And as we know, all good things must come to an end. But when that end comes way too soon, you start to question why. And why now? Is there something in the air besides COVID-19? Are we going through a planetary shift? Climate Change? Oooops, there I go again. But. . .WHY?

When Money Doesn’t Cut It

My mom used to tell me, “You can’t buy happiness,” to which I usually shot back, “Maybe not, but it makes the misery more bearable.” Does it? After the alarming rate of young folks with money leaving this earth, I honestly think she was right and I was wrong.

I don’t pretend to have any type of knowledge of the whys and the wherefores of this world. That’s the department of a higher power well above my pay grade. But it sure makes you wonder why someone like Naya Rivera, by all accounts a good mom who worshiped her son, couldn’t get back in that boat. She made sure her baby was safely in and then, for whatever, reason, she slipped away. Why did she have to go? Where was that one last push of gargantuan strength that many say saves them?

There I go again, the little girl who still asks why.

A young man like Brandon Keough. He looks so much like his famous Grandpop (Elvis Presley) it’s scary. By all reports a nice and talented young man from a famous and talented family. Took his own life. Why? What was missing in his life? He didn’t suffer, as most of us define suffering. Or did he? Why did he feel suicide was the only way out? According to a lifelong friend, he felt the pressure to carry on the Presley name, especially since he looked so much like Elvis. His friend said it was an overwhelming force on Brandon. So sad.

Others Taken From Us

Actress, wife and mother Kelly Preston passed on the other day from breast cancer. She was only 57. She hadn’t finished raising her children. Why her? Why now?

Nick Cordero, 41, a bright star on Broadway and a reported great guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He fell victim to COVID-19 and went through three months of hell before his lungs gave up the ghost. He left a wife and a one-year-old baby. Why him? Why now?

And the disaster that opened up this strange year in January 2020, Kobe Bryant. Whatever you thought of Kobe, he was only 41 and way too young to go. He left a wife and three kids. One daughter died with him. Why them? Why now?

There I go again, the little girl who still asks why.

The Ones Who Went the Distance

We lost a lot of “old folks” in the past few months, too. I don’t feel so bad about these people. They got to live a long life and left an enduring legacy. What more can you ask for? I think my question here is why did they make it when others didn’t? What spark did they have that let them live into their 80s, 90s and beyond? Good genes? Maybe. I’m talking about people like . .

Jerry Stiller
Carl Reiner
Little Richard
Ian Holm
Buck Henry
Kirk Douglas
Orson Bean
Charlie Daniels

What did they have that was special? Why did they live so long?

If you want a more complete list of who we’ve lost in 2020, click here.

And Then There’s Me

I guess you could call it survivor’s guilt. I was supposed to be dead at 30. Then again at 45. Then I went for the hat trick at 50. So why am I still here when others who battled with me are not? I’m not so special. But here I sit and so many others are just memories. A nurse said to me one time, “Well, honey, you have a family to raise.” So did the others. I feel blessed to be sitting here writing this, but I still ask why the others are not here with me.

If you have any answers for me, please put them in a comment. Maybe there are no answers. And maybe I’m just doomed to be the little girl who still asks why to the questions that have no answers, except for those that are blowin’ in the wind.

Jul 102020
 

Today a woman's worth or talent hinges on her being able to wear an itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikiniThe words *hot bikini bod* can cause my hot (not so) bikini blood to boil. Everywhere you look these days, all folks want of women is a hot bikini bod. Cut me a break!!! Men can have a beer belly, hair sprouting everywhere and be bowlegged, yet they will still be reviewed based on their talent. Women? No hot bikini bod, no talent. Sadly, in our society a woman’s talent depends on size.

What They Want

You would think that Carrie Underwood would fit the bill of what they want perfectly. She’s young, gorgeous, ripped after two kids and can tear up a song like nobody’s business. Looks? Check. Brains? Check. Bod? Check. Talent? Well, depends on if she bulges in that bikini or not. As long as she has that hot bikini bod, yeah, she’s talented.

The Older Folks

Melanie Griffith, a talented actress, is 62. Want to know what’s the only headline I’ve seen on her recently? “Melanie Griffith, 62, stuns in sports bra.” Forget the talent. Let’s gawk and gape at that sports bra. Yes, she looks good for 62 and, yes, she was wearing a sports bra. Stuns? She looked fairly ordinary to me. And just in case the question is burning a hole in you, she had on a rather plain pair of khaki shorts under that sports bra.

Elizabeth Hurley. She was a model. I don’t expect her to have instantly morphed into an old hag. And like most models, she’s skinny skinny. Headline, please. “Elizabeth Hurley, 54, stuns in sexy Versace dress from 21 years ago.” Here we go with that “stuns” crapola again. My first thought when I saw this was. . . why is she wearing an old dress? If you guess it’s because I’ve never owned a Versace, you’d be right.

Almost Old Folks

Let’s move into some folks who aren’t quite old yet, but are old for today’s society. If you watch the Real Housewives (yeah, right) TV shows, you’ve probably heard of Kim Zolciak. She doesn’t impress me, but she’s a mom of six and still has a pretty hot figure. So here’s the last headline I saw: “Kim Zolciak celebrates her 42nd birthday in a tiny pink bikini.” Kim may have had on a tiny pink bikini, but all I saw was boobs. Let’s just say the gal is well-endowed by her creator.

Another old lady at 42 is “Mad Men’s” January Jones. Headline: “‘Mad Men’ star January Jones, 42, stuns in nautical-inspired bikini.” And, yes, she DID look phenomenal in that bikini. I’ll admit it. But forget about her character on “Mad Men.” What acting talent? Just look at that bod! And what is it with that word “stun” these days? I think some of the so-called reporters gawking at these bods need to get hit with a stun gun!

Young Stuff

And now on to someone I had to look up. Never heard of Francesca Farago. She’s all of 26. What caught my eye, though, wasn’t the headline. . . “’Too Hot To Handle’ star Francesca Farago shows us her new bikini line”. . . but the fact that her entire arse was hanging out of that line! I mean the whole thing. Could that be what people were looking at? Ya think?

THE ULTIMATE

Okay. I admit I’m jealous here. The girl is only two years younger than me. I’m speaking about the incredible Christie Brinkley. She’s always been beautiful. You won’t get any arguments from me there. She’s taken to showing off pics of herself in bikinis with her much younger adult daughters to prove she’s still got it, so. . . “Christie Brinkley, 65, flaunts incredible bikini bod.” (That was last year, BTW. She’s now 66.) Okay. We get it. She’s got it. She has fandamtastic genes. She will never look her age, but she’s still 66 and, if she ever allows a pic of herself without makeup, unretouched and close up, you’ll see it. However, I’d bet the house and the dog on the fact that she’ll never look really bad or really old.

So How’s YOUR Hot Bikini Bod?

Oh, you don’t have a hot bikini bod? Sure, you do. It’s said that to have a hot bikini bod, take your bod, put it in a bikini and go out on a beach where it’s hot. HAH! But seriously, if you’re a senior and don’t look quite like Christie Brinkley, it’s okay. You’re YOU and there is no one else out there like you. Got wrinkles? You’ve earned them. Got gray hair? You worked for it! Got rolls? You’re a busy woman who doesn’t live in the gym and likes the occasional snack, so of course you do. And I’m sure you have many talents that may never be spoken of.

This country needs to get real. Nobody focuses on a woman’s talent, only her body. And if you still don’t believe me, have you seen Adele recently? This girl can SING!!! She was an extreme talent when she was bigger than what society wants to see. She’s always been an extreme talent. But the world went gaga when she dumped a ton of weight recently. No mention of her extreme talent, just her body. It’s sad really.

So. . . get that bikini, that tankini, that one-piece, that swimdress or whatever you’re comfortable in and take your (OLD) hot bikini bod out on the beach. Nobody’s really looking anyway. They’re too worried about their own hot bikini bod and, God forbid, if any flab is showing. Enjoy yourself!

Hard to believe this was 60 years ago, right?

Jul 032020
 

Do you set goals? If not, you're hurting yourself.Do you set goals? Or do you go off half-cocked and what happens happens? I know many folks of both persuasions and I’ve seen success and failure in both groups. While some folks do better intensely focused on a goal, others throw it all up in the air and work with what hits the ground. It’s been the fight of my life, setting goals or not setting goals

A Little Background

I was never a goal setter. I’m not even sure why. I was an expert at tossing it all up in the air and working with what came down. I did pretty well. . . most of the time. And it seemed like every time I DID set a goal, I didn’t make it. So I stopped even trying.

The Teacher

And then I met a wonderful woman who became my mentor for 13 years in a business that I was pretty successful in. She was a BIG goal-setter. She really tried with me. I’m more than a bit of a hard case. She explained, cajoled, taught and begged me to set a goal and follow through. So I did. And I blew every last one of them, thus proving my point that my balls in the air method was better for me. She never bought it. She has now passed from this earth and she kept trying to focus me until the day she left us. She didn’t succeed.

Failure and Settling Become the Norm

I tried a succession of things, not setting goals except for wanting to succeed. Did I? Mildly. But it wasn’t the type of success I wanted. I would get into trainings and they would tell me to *identify my strengths.* I was like, “Hmmm, procrastination, no concentration, a mind that constantly yells SQUIRREL. . . you mean like that?” No, that’s not what they meant. I could not focus on a goal and, therefore, I didn’t make much. I didn’t entirely fail, but I was far from successful. So I settled for what I got and called it a day.

New Passion

And then I found something I desperately needed for my own health. I was NOT going to make a business out of it. Nope, no way. I was happy with things just the way they were. But I wasn’t satisfied. There IS a difference.

And Then Things Changed

One day I sat up and said, “Hey, why not? I can do this.” But still no goal. Toss it up in the air and see what falls out. As you can expect, the answer to that is not much. But I was getting my name out there. And all the while, there was this voice whispering in the back of my mind, “You need a goal to meet, woman!” The other voice argued back, “NO!!! No goal. I’m going to fail!!!” And then I heard a third and wiser voice that said, “You can’t even fail if you don’t try.”

So Now There is a Goal

I dragged myself kicking and screaming towards a goal. I set one. Still didn’t work. Why? Not specific enough. I figured it I made it broad enough, it would give me some wiggle room. You don’t need wiggle room. You need a goal to reach for. A specific goal.

So Now There is a Specific Goal

Okay, okay, I did it. Did I want to? Hell, no!!! But. . . I couldn’t avoid those meddling voices in my head any longer. The one voice said, “Set a goal and you will fail once more!” The other one yelled in retaliation, “Don’t set a goal and you will fail once more!” Since I had more experience with not setting a goal, I decided I owed it to myself to try the other one. So now, would you believe, I have TWO goals? One short-term and one long-term. They are both specific, the short-term more so than the long-term goal. But they are both workable and they need a sense of focus that I hope and pray I can still pull out at my age.

What Next?

Work towards that short-term goal. What happens if I don’t make it? I refocus and try again. One thing my goal-oriented mentor of long ago taught me that DID get through my thick skull is that it’s okay to modify a goal. I intend to keep that in mind.

How About You?

So which one are YOU? Are you setting goals or not setting goals? If you’re a goal-setter, please leave me a comment and tell me what works for you. This old dog intends to learn new tricks. But maybe I should have said old cat. Watch this guy. He knows how to set that goal and SCORE!!! 🙂

Jun 262020
 

Meet the Radio Shack TRS-80, my original computer in 1985I have been on a computer in one form or another since 1985. We had one of the old Radio Shack computers lovingly dubbed a Trash 80 (TRS-80). I used to joke that you could put in your DOS command, go cook dinner, eat it, wash the dishes, come back and it might be finished. But 1985 and 2020 are two very different animals. Technology moves faster than a toddler who’s been asked what’s in his/her mouth. So let’s take a look at an old lady in the age of tech.

First Portable Phone

Notice, I didn’t say “cell” phone. I actually got my first portable phone in 2001. My husband bought it for me for Christmas to use in an emergency. It was about the same size as the handset on a conventional phone today. I had to get out the BIG pocketbook to carry it around. All it did was make calls. I have to admit to being summarily unimpressed. I had gotten around without a portable telephone for almost 50 years. And, of course, there were still phone booths. Then.

That Damn Kid

When my eldest son achieved high school age, he started lobbying for his own cell phone. I refused to buy it for him. We made a deal. Get some jobs, buy your own phone and I’ll buy you some minutes. I NEVAH thought he’d do it, but. . . he did. As promised, I bought the minutes. So then I was dragged kicking and screaming into the cell phone age as I had to learn to text to chase him around. Who here remembers how to text on an old candy bar or flip phone? I hated it, pressing all those buttons so many times just to get the wrong letter. HAH! The old lady in the age of tech story was seriously just beginning.

They Shouldn’t Sell Smart Phones to Stupid People

And then came the iPhone 5. It was years ago now and, hey, they were giving them out free for a contract. At first I was like a kid when the Sears Christmas Catalog arrived in the mail. Then, as with most things, it became pretty ordinary. It played some mean games. That’s what it was used for, for the most part. And then I had to upgrade. Confusion, thy name was iPhone 6. And all my friends, whether on iPhone or Android, who had caught the bug long before excitedly exclaimed, “Oh, you can do this and this and this and that!” So I learned to nod appreciably and get excited with them. Then home I went to work on my trusty computer.

The Mac Book Pro

In 2014 I let people talk me into getting an Apple Mac Book Pro. They convinced me I needed one so my iPhone would synch with it. (HUH?) I was assured it wasn’t *that much* different and I would pick it up in no time flat. So I went to the Apple Refurb Store and bought one. Let me tell you how many times that @O$&((@#$(&^*@$ thing almost went into the wall! It was small enough to throw, too! After an astronomical amount of frustration, a wonderful woman at Apple Care took almost 90 minutes with me when I called sobbing that I wanted to return it. She got into my computer remotely, put a big red arrow on my screen and told me to follow her. No question was too dumb. Once we got the thing set up properly, she gave me a tutorial on how to use it geared for a Windows person. It took about a year before I was fully comfortable with it, but now I consider myself fairly competent in both systems. Fairly.

Then it Was Time for an iPad

Okay, okay. I was slowly going over to the dark side. . . Apple. The phone and the Mac Book did synch up. I was using an Amazon Kindle Fire for a tablet. It was nice, but I used it like a toy. Once again, another well-meaning friend told me I would not use an iPad like a toy and. . . here it comes. . . it would synch up. So I saved up and bought one on sale. I had to fight Best Buy to get their advertised price and almost got arrested (a story for another time), but I walked out of that store with my Apple iPad Air 2 raised in the air with a victory pump . . . for exactly the price in the ad.

So Now I’m an Apple Geek

I went along for a few years, still getting mildly confused when I switched back and forth too quickly. Why didn’t I abandon the Windows computer? Because in NJ you are not permitted to use Apple iOS for legal transcription which is my main side gig. And it was easy because I knew it so well. When I didn’t want to think, back I went to Windows. But I have to admit I thought it was pretty damn cool how I could switch back and forth seamlessly between three devices!

Upgrade That Phone

And then the iPhone 6, by now way too many years old, was dying. I really didn’t want to upgrade, but. . . say hello to my bright red iPhone XR. All I can say is thank God my 24-year-old daughter has the same phone.

Use That Phone

So now I make and receive calls, text like a madwoman, play some pretty neat games, check the weather and do many other things on my iPhone. I maybe use 1/100th of its capability. I always run back to the computer. Now I’m changing things. Why? Because I’m a stubborn (and envious) old bat and I want to do things the way my younger friends do. Some things I pick up right away. Some things take longer. “Mom, why didn’t you just ask me? I could’ve saved you all that time.”

Where am I Now?

Fighting with a phone that is still too much for me. But I AM learning, proving that an old dog can be taught new tricks. It just takes a helluva lot longer. And for the record, I still prefer using a computer with a full-size keyboard. The iPhone XR shot me the hairy eyeball when I wrote that. Still, had someone ever told me in high school or even college that one day I would have a 3×6″ device in my hands that would run my life, I would have told them that they needed to pay more for their drugs as they obviously were not getting quality.

What about YOU?

Now it’s time for YOUR story as an old lady in the age of tech. Come on, I know I’m not the only old lady who fought (fights) with this crapola. Put it right here in the comments so we can commiserate together. 😉

Smashing it is exactly what I wanted to do to the Mac Book Pro when I first got it!