Friday, September 27, 2013

Let's Ban Bans

Thought for the day:  Doing a book signing tomorrow at Barnes & Noble. Bring your own book... I haven't written one yet.  [Daniel Tosh]

Until earlier this week, we were visiting Murphy, North Carolina, a smallish town in the Great Smoky Mountains. Talk about an ahhhhhhh experience. Just gorgeous. But we weren't there just to see the sights, and we didn't do any fishing, either... not for fish, anyway.

I was fishing for readers.

At a book signing!!!

I remember the days of sitting at book signings, playing with my pen when no one would come, and still I even then thought I was living the dream, because I had a book out.  [Harlan Coben]

This lovely lady bought TWO books... one for herself, and one for her daughter's birthday. (And she'd already read a friend's copy, so.. woo HOO!... she knew exactly what she was buying!)

Unlike this crusty ol' moonshiner. He grabbed a copy of my book mighty quick-like, but I think his eyesight needed some adjustment. He kept calling the book Hot Batches and Cold Lemonade. Could be he thought it was some kinda (ahem) recipe book?

Bottom line, we had a terrific time. The day of the signing, it poured down rain, so there wasn't exactly a long line of people chomping at the bit to get my John Hancock. But that's okeydoke by me. We met some really nice people, and we spent a few days with good friends. It doesn't get much better than that.

Now that we're home, I can't ignore the fact that this week was Banned Book Week. Since 1982, the American Library Association has used the last week in September to make the public aware of attempts to restrict or remove books from libraries and school curricula.

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.  [Joseph Brodsky]

By lodging a formal challenge to reading material based on their own personal objections, certain individuals and groups aren't just expressing an opinion; they want to restrict our access to that material. They want to impose their beliefs on the rest of society, and thereby pose a threat to our freedoms of speech and choice. (Da bums.)

Believe it or not, many books now considered classics were banned at one time. Books written by some of our most beloved authors.

Of the nearly 500 challenges lodged this past year, these are the top ten targets:

  • Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey. 
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. 
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
  • Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
  • And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
  • Looking for Alaska, by John Green
  • Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Know what I think? I think we should all make an effort to read at least one book from this list.

And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those items.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.  [Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country]

                                    Resist ignorance: read a book!

                        Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

[Thanks to the fine folks at icanhascheezburger for granting me permission to use their images.]

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gone... Fishing?

Thought for the day:  When you come to the edge of the light that you know, and you are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen. There will be something to land on, or you will learn how to fly. [anonymous]

You like to go fishing? I do, but it's been years since I've had a rod and reel in my hands. Okay, so technically, I didn't have a rod and reel in my hands in that picture, either, but I'm sure I was just (ahem) taking a little break. After all, we used to head out before the sun came up, and reeling in those monstrous sunfish is hard work, ya know.

So, am I going fishing this weekend? Not exactly. But I'm gonna be doing something pretty cool, and in a way, I will be fishing for something...

Nope, I'm not gonna be jumping out of an airplane or flying a hot air balloon, either, although I'm sure my navigational skills would easily be on par with the clever person controlling the balloon in that picture.

Bottom line? I'm gonna be away from the computer until some time next week. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a re-run of a post which first ran more than two years ago under the title Wonderful Wednesday. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it isn't Wednesday, but just pretend, okay? See y'all next week. By Friday at the latest. I hope you have a super weekend. Hey! Why not... go fishing?

(I hope I catch more than this dude!)


Thought for the dayForget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.

Have you ever noticed that Wednesdays don't get much love? A Wednesday is what one of my friends would call, "a red-headed step-child." It certainly doesn't get revered like a weekend day, but then again, it doesn't get maligned like poor Monday, either. But I'll bet you never heard anyone say, "Thank God it's Wednesday!" Face it. Wednesday doesn't get much attention at all.

At the very best, some people call it "Hump Day", and depending on your perspective, that might not be all bad. But at least for this day, for this week, I'm declaring today Wonderful Wednesday. You hereby have permission, nay, an imperative to squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of this day as you possibly can. Come to think of it, that wouldn't be a bad way to approach every day, would it?

I was planning to write about the joys of growing older today. Really! There ARE some! There are many things for which I can be grateful. (Like I'm very grateful that wrinkles don't hurt.) But, alas and alack, that dear lady Linda Grimes beat me to the punch today with her blog. Great minds think alike, eh?

So, instead, I'll tell you a couple stories. The first is the tale of what has to be one of the luckiest young men in the world. While hiking in Utah in 2005, the then 21-year-old got caught in an avalanche. No, no, wait! That's not the lucky part. Here it comes: would you believe this young man RODE the avalanche an amazing 1000 feet down a ridge -- FEET-FIRST -- and then walked away with nothing but minor injuries?! (And one HECK of a story!)

 I mean, can you IMAGINE this??? Talk about the ultimate rush. That had to have been an experience that young man will NEVER forget. And I hope he yelled a joyous YEE-HAAAA the whole ride down.

Sometimes, it feels like we're all caught in an avalanche of time, doesn't it?  The days, the weeks, the years, they all fly by so quickly, and the best we can do is hold on for dear life, "ride it out", and hopefully, stay on our feet the whole way down.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! What a ride!"

Don't you love that quote? Wish I knew where it originated. It's one that many people have sent me over the years, but never with attribution. Nonetheless, let's all aim to try to live this Wonderful Wednesday with that young man's glorious ride, and that glorious quote, in mind.

The other story is about a young bride and one of the first meals she prepared for her new husband.

It was a beautiful ham, but before roasting it, this lovely young bride whacked off a large chunk of the meat and chucked it straight into the garbage can. This immediately prompted her astonished (and financially responsible) husband to ask his dearly beloved why-oh-why-dear-heart was she trashing what looked like a perfectly good piece of meat. The sweet young thing batted her eyelashes and said she did it because that's what her mother always did. So, the next time they saw her parents, the young man asked his mother-in-law about her unusual ham-cooking method. She said she did it that way because that's how HER mother always did it. By this time, the young bride was as curious as her husband, and they could hardly wait to hear Grandma's response to the riddle about the wasted hunk of ham. When they asked her, she laughed, and said, "I didn't have a pan big enough to hold the whole thing."

Isn't it funny how we sometimes get caught in traditions without questioning the purpose or logic behind them? Perhaps, in writing, we may meticulously follow the "old rules" without questioning whether they still apply, or if they're particularly well-suited for our particular style of writing. For example, I'm a real stickler for grammar, but (gasp!) I don't always write in full sentences. Some writers say that in the pursuit of creativity, anything goes. Wanta end a sentence with a preposition? Go for it! Split an infinitive? Have at it! Lift your head to the heavens and say, "I am writer! Hear me roar!" Then write what you want to write the way you want to write it.

Or not. What do you think?

OK, so I didn't write about growing older today, but I simply must share this delightful poem with you. It was written by the inimitable Maya Angelou.

When I was in my younger days, I weighed a few pounds less,
I needn't hold my tummy in to wear a belted dress.
But now that I am older, I've set my body free;
There's the comfort of elastic where once my waist would be.

Inventor of those high-heeled shoes, my feet have not forgiven;
I have to wear a nine now, but used to wear a seven.
And how about those pantyhose --- they're sized by weight, you see,
So how come when I put them on, the crotch is at my knee?

I need to wear these glasses, as the print's been getting smaller;
And it wasn't very long ago I know that I was taller.
Though my hair has turned to gray and my skin no longer fits,
On the inside, I'm the same old me, it's the outside's changed a bit.

On that note, I'll say goodbye for now. Be kind to yourselves. And each other.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sweet Mysteries of Life

Thought for the day:  It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit. [Antoine Rivarol]

For those with an inquisitive mind, life offers an almost endless stream of mysteries, curiosities, and phenomena worthy of some serious chin-scratching.

Shall we consider a handful of them?

How about those intricate crop circles that have appeared in fields all over the world? What's up with them? Aliens? Hordes of drunken frat boys? Just one big bogus joke?

Beats me.

How about the Voynich manuscript? Ever hear of that? Named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller Wilfrid Voynich, who acquired it in the early 1900s, this detailed 240-page book contains still-colorful drawings, and is written in an unknown language and unknown alphabet. It includes astronomical charts and diagrams, and illustrations of plants unknown to modern botanists. Carbon dating places the book's origins somewhere between 1404 to 1438. Who wrote it? An alchemist, maybe? Where did the language come from? Did he make it up to hide his secrets?

Beats me.

I'm sure you've heard of the Bermuda Triangle. Over the years, many ships and planes have mysteriously disappeared when attempting to navigate through this area. Where did they go? Alien abductions? Is there a huge junkyard of shipwrecks and downed planes at the bottom of the sea there? Is it all a big fat fraud?

Beats me.

Ever hear of the Taos hum? It's a low-pitched humming sound that can be heard in certain parts of the world, mainly the US, UK, and northern Europe... and it can only be heard by some people. More than 2000 people, dating back to the 1940s, have reported hearing the maddening sound in London and Southampton. And I do mean maddening. Tales indicate that the sound has literally driven some people insane. Yet, others can't hear it at all. The most infamous site for the humming sound is in Taos, New Mexico. Ergo, the name. However, the humming has also been identified by other geological locations, as well. Like the Bristol hum. Sorry, I couldn't find an image to illustrate this mystery, but I did find a couple videos on Youtube. Although they were supposed to be recordings of the Taos hum, I couldn't hear a doggone thing. (Maybe I'm already mad?) So what's the source of this mysterious hum only heard by some? (But not me.)

Beats me.

Here's another lulu. Ever hear of the WOW signal? In 1977, SETI (Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence) volunteer Jerry Ehman received a loud 72-second signal with the radio telescope at Ohio State University. The signal appeared to have originated in the constellation Sagittarius — 120 light-years away. The intensity of this signal was more than thirty times greater than normal deep space signals, as evidenced in the figures Ehman circled on the printout, along with his notation WOW! Since then, attempts to relocate the signal have been fruitless. So what was it? Who or what generated it?

Beats me.

Here we have the Georgia Guidestones. This mammoth granite monument is engraved in eight languages, and each presents ten directions for an Age of Reason. Also called the American Stonehenge, the stones are also aligned to include astronomical features. Shrouded in mystery since it was commissioned in 1979, no one knows exactly who commissioned it or why. (If you're interested in more details about this monument, you can find it right here on an earlier post.)

So who was that masked man the mystery man representing that mysterious group, and why did they pay a huge amount of money to have this monument erected? And why in a field in rural Georgia?

Beats me.

Have you ever wished there were well-defined markers pointing the proper path to take through life? Well, guess what? There are! Yep, mysterious concrete arrows, as much as seventy feet in length, can be found all across the United States. Some of them are located in the middle of nowhere... even in the desert. What gives? Who laid out all those arrows for us? A benevolent God? A rich prankster? Drunken frat boys? Is it all a ridiculous plot to drive us crazy? (Just in case we can't hear the hum...)

Beats... No, wait! Actually, I know the answer to this one. When the United States opened its first coast-to-coast airmail delivery route in 1920, it wasn't able to deliver mail much faster than by ground. Why, you ask? Because there weren't any good aviation maps in those days, so pilots had to rely on visual landmarks to find their way, which meant flying during bad weather or at night was nearly impossible.

The solution? The Postal Service installed lit beacons every ten miles all the way from New York to San Francisco, each comprised of a bright yellow concrete arrow and a fifty-one-foot tower topped with a generator-powered rotating beacon. The project started in 1923, and by 1929, the massive illuminated arrows spanned the entire continent. In the '40s, as other technology took over and aviation maps improved, the beacons were decommissioned, and the towers, torn down. The yellow paint is long gone, but guess what? Believe it or not, the arrows... are still there.

One final mystery before I bid you all adieu.  Can you tell me why...  can anyone tell me why...

... why do people of a certain gender leave the lid up on the toilet? And worse... the seat?

Not that it's a problem for Smarticus and me, mind you. In all these years together, in all these years of gaping toilets left to wake my startled butt up in the middle of the night, I've only succumbed to that nefarious trap twice.( The simple solution? A night light.)

Oh well. I suppose people of that certain gender probably wonder what's the point in closing the lid when you're just gonna use it again later. (sigh)

Ah, what the heck! Vive la difference. Just one more sweet mystery...

                                                         Didn't you just love this lady?

                                                          This here is one smart dude!

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Brits Ride with Pride

Thought for the day:  MGs don't leak oil; they mark their places.

Dontcha love the front of this car? If I were more clever, I'd doctor the picture to make it look even more like a smiling face. No matter. When Smarticus and I went to the British Car Fayre in our town last weekend, we saw plenty of real smiling faces. And plenty of extraordinary British cars, too.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of owning a British car, but want to know what it's like: Next big rainstorm, wait 'til dark, roll down all the windows, leave off lights and heater and wipers, and go for a drive. Stop at every intersection and throw out a twenty dollar bill. It's not exactly the same, but it's real close.  [Mike Nash]

We evidently have plenty of anglophiles and UK ex-pats living in our area, because this annual car show, sponsored in part by the loverly Taste of Britain always draws a fine array of vehicles and visitors. Lots of Triumphs, Rolls Royces, MGs, Morgans, Austin Healies, Astin Martins, Lotuses, Minis, Range Rovers, Bentleys, Jaguars, motorcycles, and more. A bunch of drool-worthy vehicles. But not a single Delorean! Can you believe that?

Nope, not a single one; there were three! Sitting side by side by side, they were quite a sight to behold.  (But if I can't have it in red, I don't want one...)

One street was pretty well lined with Minis. Some of them are reeeeally... mini. You hear the one about the trouble with bucket seats is we don't all have the same size buckets? Well, I know some people who'd have a hard time fitting their impressive buckets into some of these Minis. Pulling them out of one of these cars would sound like a champagne cork popping.

But, if a fella can't fit into a small car, there are always other ways around it. Right, Mr. Bean?

There were quite a few Land Rovers, too. These two cracked me up. One for Dad... and one for Junior.

Hey, you never can tell when you might have an opportunity to go on safari in Atlanta. Heck, everyone knows the traffic here is like a jungle, and some of the drivers are real... beasts.

Much to my surprise, there were even a couple Fords in the show. Huh, how 'bout that? It seems some of them are made in Britain, too? For sure, we've never seen a Ford commercial in the U.S. that comes even close to being as funny as this British one:

Anyone who's familiar with a Lotus will recognize that this one stands out from the pack. Its front end reminded us of a Prowler.

And son of a gun...

Doggone if we didn't know its owner! Actually, we knew his now-deceased parents better, but we recognized the Montgomery name, and then recognized him, so of course, had to stop and chat for a bit.

In case you can't read it, the writing on Smarticus' shirt says: I've been a bad boy. Send me to my GARAGE. (HA! Isn't that perfect? A big thanks and a tip of the hat to our Tennessee pals Kati and Cliff.)

Aye, and there were bonnie brogues to be heard, and evidence of a wee bit of Scottish humor.

(The patch on that hat says Gleneagle, Scotland.)

Check out this 1933 Rolls Royce. Its owner had a good sense of humor, too. Know how I could tell? By what I saw sitting in the back seat...

Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?


A GT6 pulled alongside a Rolls Royce at a traffic light. "Do you have a car phone?" its driver asked the man in the Rolls.

"Of course I do!" came the haughty reply.

"Do you have a fax machine?"

The Rolls owner sniffed. "I have that, too."

"Do you have a double bed in the back?" the GT6 driver wanted to know.

With an annoyed frown, the Rolls driver sped away, and that very afternoon, had his mechanic install a double bed in the back of his car.

A week later, the Rolls driver spotted the GT6 at the side of the road with its back windows fogged up and steam pouring out. He pulled over, got out of his car, strutted up to it, and and pounded on its rear window. "I say!" he yelled. "I want you to know I had a double bed installed!"

The GT6 driver rolled his window down and frowned. "Bloody hell!" he said. "You got me out of the shower to tell me that?"

How about this one? Anybody see the movie featuring this car?

Bond, James Bond...

Wouldn't this hood ornament be absolutely perfect for our rat rod? I mean, Smarticus and I do practice a certain amount of smart assiness from time to time.

I took lots more pictures, but rather than bore you with them, let's take a brief look at another part of this car show. A surprising part. At least, I don't remember seeing it at the show in past years...

How about that? Who knew Georgia had a Winston Churchill Society? Not I! So in honor of the great man, I'll leave you with a smattering of some of his many famous quotes:
  • We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
  • We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
  • An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile — hoping it will eat him last.
  • From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I shall not put.
  • A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
  • Bessie Braddock- Sir, you are drunk.  Churchill- Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.
  • Nancy Astor- Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.  Churchill- If I were your husband, I would take it.
  • Never never never give up.
  • Everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others.
                          I hope you have a smashing day... and may it last all weekend.

                    Until next time, take care of yourselves, old beans. And each other.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kicking a Few Things Around

Thought for the day:  In football, everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.  [Jean-Paul Sartre]

Okay, so granted, Sartre was probably talking about that other kind of football, the one we Americans call soccer, but it's still a nifty quote. And although soccer is a nifty game, we're not gonna talk about it today. Nope, we're gonna kick around some stuff about American football.

You a football fan? We're rabid avid Falcons fans. Our kids and grandkids, too. See? Even though they live in Florida, our younger son and his baby boy were all decked out in style to watch the Falcons play this past Sunday. (Too bad da Birds didn't win. Wait 'til next week, though!)

RAH! RAH! Now that football season has started, I figured I'd blatantly seize the opportunity to explain a couple football happenings from my novel Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. (Aw, crap, she's talking about her damned book again.)

NO, no, now wait. Hold on. I'm not pimping my book. A couple readers questioned these two items is all, so I thought I'd remind y'all that I wrote a book address them here. You might even find it interesting.

Characters MaryBeth and Willie go to a Washington Redskins game, and a reader from Baltimore wanted to know why the heck they didn't go to a Baltimore Ravens game, fuh cryin' out loud.

Well, Baltimore's in love with the Ravens now, but that wasn't always the case. Its first love was the Colts, who played there from 1953 until 1983, when they slunk out of town under cover of darkness to move to Indianapolis. After that infamous departure, many locals threw their heart-broken support to the Redskins. Our story takes place in the late '90s, and although the Ravens started playing in Baltimore in '97, some fans were reticent about supporting the newbies, so they stuck with the Redskins for a while. Ergo, MaryBeth and Willie went to a Redskins game. (Plus, I had an ulterior motive for getting them on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.)

Big Georgette and Boss Hog
Much to my surprise, the other question came from my very own Smarticus. He wanted to know what the deal was about them wearing pig snouts at the game. (Oh, like that's any dumber than fans wearing a big block of cheese on their heads?)

Anyhow, in the 1980s, the 'Skins offensive line was... how shall I put this... large. Very large, as in super-sized. Their coach Joe Bugel called them... the hogs. (Ah-HA!)

Yep, so beginning in 1983, twelve male 'Skins fans... dubbed the Hogettes...  started donning dresses and pig snouts to every game to cheer on their team. (They also raised a considerable amount of money for charity.)

When this iconic group retired in 2012, it had twelve active members and fifteen former ones. Three were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the VISA Hall of Fans. (I'll betcha the hall has inducted at least one cheesehead, too.)

Bottom line? This group started wearing snouts in honor of the original hogs of the early '80s, and other fans quickly followed suit. ( No telling how many of the fans who wear them to games today know why they wear them, but now... you do.)

With a new season underway, football fans are... floating on air.

Hey! How's about some football funnies? Believe it or not, these are actual quotes:
  • Joe Theisman- Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein. (Um, yeah. Good ol'... Norman.)
  • Torrin Polk- (talking about his coach) He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings. (Heck, why not? Joe Namath wore pantyhose.)
  • George Rogers- I want to rush for 1000 or 1500 yards, whichever comes first. (I'm thinking this guy probably wasn't a math major.)
  • Bill Peterson- (former Oilers coach) You guys line up alphabetically by height. Peterson also gets credit for this one: Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl. (Math wasn't his strong suit, either.)
  • Dick Butkus- I wouldn't ever set out to hurt anyone deliberately unless it was important — like a league game. (Aren't all NFL games league games?)
  • William Perry- I've been big ever since I was little. (And he was, too! AKA Refrigerator, Perry was 200 pounds at the age of eleven!)
  • Jerry Rice- I feel like I'm the best, but you're not going to get me to say that. (No, of course not.)
  • Thomas Henderson- (referring to Terry Bradshaw) He couldn't spell cat if you spotted him the C and the T. (Now that's just mean.)
  • Joe Namath- I don't know if I prefer Astroturf to grass. I never smoked Astroturf. (He probably couldn't get it to light.)
  • John Elway- I normally run the 40-yard dash in 4.9, but when a 280-pound guy is chasing me, I run it in 4.6. (Darned good incentive to step it up a bit, I'd say.)

                                               Half-pint footballers pull off quite a trick:

                                    Here's a little something for you fans of that other football.

                                                                       ( Happy?)

                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Football is like life— it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.  [Vince Lombardi]

Football is the ballet of the masses.  [Dmitri Shostakovich]

I like football. I find it's an exciting strategic game. It's a great way to avoid conversation with your family on Thanksgiving.  [Craig Ferguson]

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Ol' Blonde Mare is Back

Thought for the day:  I'm very young at heart. Unfortunately, some of my other parts are a bit older.

Aaaaaaah. We had such a wonderful time with our friends in Tennessee. See that picture? Would you believe I took it in their back yard? Yep, lots of land; lots of privacy; lots of beautiful scenery and wildlife to see. We saw deer and turkeys ambling around their property every day... and the guys even saw bear tracks when they went tromping off into the woods.

As for Kati and me, we all but wore the letters off the Scrabble tiles. The guys were interested in more intellectual pursuits, so the four of us also played quite a few rounds of Fact or Crap? and Dirty Minds. (Yes, those games are every bit as sophisticated as they sound.)

Lots of fun. Come to think of it, the only thing we didn't get much of was... sleep. And ya know what? We don't bounce back from a string of 4AM nights nearly as well as we used to. Funny how that works. Dammit.

We spent one day at a verrrrrrry cool museum. Can anybody guess what it was from this picture?

(I'll tell you all about it in a later post.)

For now, I'm gonna share an excerpt from a post that first ran in April of 2011, with the title Age is Just a Number. (Why yes, I am feeling a little tired and oldish about now... thanks so much for pointing that out. But I'll betcha I'd perk right up if somebody pulled out a Scrabble board...)


Thought for the day:  How can I possibly be "over the hill" when I never made it to the top?

Sometimes, I actually forget how old I am. I mean, no matter how old you are on the outside, don't you still feel young on the inside? So what if the outside doesn't look as good as it did twenty, thirty, forty years ago? I say, avoid those lying mirrors! Got some sagging parts? Parts that swing? Eat until the wrinkles fill out! OK, so it may be a little more difficult to deny the creep of age after Uncle Sam starts sending you those  thank-you-God-life-is-good social security checks every month, but for that, I have two little words of advise: direct deposit. (Why be reminded?)

Alas, there are times when the tra-la-la-la I'm still young inner child gets a solid kick in the teeth. The best thing to do then is spit out the blood and have a good laugh about it.

Like last summer, when some of our grandchildren were visiting. I convinced my son and granddaughter to spin the jump rope for me so I could demonstrate the fine art of jumping in. I executed it perfectly, too, and it felt great! Just like being a kid again. For a few beautiful moments, I felt as graceful and light on my feet as a ten-year-old ballerina. But then, zip-a-dee-doo-dah, my feet went out from under me, and the next thing I knew, my arse hit the driveway like a one-ton sack of potatoes. I thought it was hysterical, but the rest of the family was mortified... and they wouldn't "let" me play jump rope anymore. (Spoil sports!)

So, pbbbt! Don't let aging get you down. For one thing, it's too damned hard to get back up again, but mostly, it's because this really can be a terrific time of life. So enjoy it! Let me remind you that no matter what her age, any woman can have the body of a 21-year-old, if that's really what she wants. But (Bada-boom!) she may have to buy him a few drinks first. And ladies, as much as we've grumbled over the years about men not looking at our faces when they're talking to us, it's a little reassuring to know that, even at my age, men are still looking at my boobs. (So what if they have to squat first?)

How about you? Is there sometimes a disconnect between the real you and what the calendar tries to tell you? Can you laugh about it? After all, we don't stop laughing because we get old; we get old because we stop laughing.

                                       Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.