The Dog Dance

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our beloved Winston to Jacobs Pillow for some serious boogeying!  Winston is our Mexican refugee dog who came back with us from Ajijic a year and a half ago.  We adopted him quite unexpectedly after falling in love with him at an adoption day in our little village of Ajijic.  This is the place we winter, escaping the severe cold of upstate New York.

My daughter had seen an ad for dog dancing at the world renowned Jacobs Pillow, a mecca in The Berkshires for serious dancing since the 1930’s. It is the oldest internationally acclaimed Summer dance festival in the United States.  220 acres in size and gorgeous, The Pillow, for those of us in the know, was listed as a National Historic Landmark District in 2003.

Apparently, The Pillow hosts a canine dancing event every Summer to celebrate National Dog Day.  The dance is choreographed by resident dancers and the caregivers accompanying their canine friends.  (the dance belongs to the dogs though, not the people!  We just serve as props!)

“Partnering is fundamental to many dance genres and the partnership between dogs and their companions is unlike any other,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. How right she is!  We do not think we look silly jumping around and pirouetting with our four legged friends on the great lawn in the Berkshires.  It is pure silliness, fun, and downright love for the one living thing that gives it’s owner unconditional love.

This event will now become a part of my cultural summers in the Berkshires, weather permitting.  I will look forward to dancing barefoot in the grass with my agile Winston and paying homage to my senior citizen Colby.  If only life could remain this simple!

A short post today before Barclay and I take a much needed rest from our blog publishing.  We have published 60 posts since the end of January when we began.  We are so proud of what we have accomplished and the response from our family and friends.  We will be writing our little hearts out so that we have posts in the queue with no interruptions.  We figured if Maria Shriver (our heroine and role model) could take off the whole month of August, we were entitled to at least two weeks!

Today’s Takeaway…

Don’t be afraid to act silly, laugh, run through the grass with your dog!  Who cares who’s watching?!! Don’t be afraid to let loose.  If not now, when?

. Our 4 legged friends are special.  Love them with all your heart.  Talk to them, cry on their backs, tell them secrets. They are on this earth for one reason only, to give pleasure. Never forget that DOG is GOD spelled backwards.

 

Enjoy the Ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

mail.google

Bravo Winston!!

Self-Care – Putting your oxygen mask on first

It’s an unsettling direction given by the flight attendant.  What kind of parent does not first try to help her child?   It goes against our natural inclinations to prioritize our own well being.

Yet that’s what Jesus meant when he said to love our neighbor as ourself.   We must first take care of our body, soul, mind, and spirit in order to be a conduit of love toward others.  Jesus himself came away from the crowds in order to reconnect with God.

Self-care is actually a spiritual discipline – one we tend to ignore or take to an extreme.  The Huffington Post offers some suggestions for practicing self-care intentionally but not obsessively.  (Check out all 20 practices  here.)

“Do something that energizes your body.  Stretch, swim, run, do yoga, whatever physical activity you enjoy.

Create a Gratitude List. Write down all the things you’re thankful for.

Unplug for a day. Go on a media fast.

Do something new. Have you been considering learning a new skill or trying a new hobby? Go for it.

Practice mini-meditation.  Begin or end your day with a minute of deep breathing, and focused awareness of your body, thoughts, and feelings.

Dance it out.  Put on your favorite dance music, and shake your body.

Get quality time with a quality person. Hang out with someone you love. If they’re far away, give them a phone call.

Be still.  Find a quiet place outside, and embrace the stillness.

De-clutter.  Choose a place — your email inbox, your desk, a closet — and get rid of the excess and junk.

Do an activity mindfully and slowly.  Savor the moment, and experience your activity with attentiveness.

Take a walk. Explore your area at a leisurely pace.

Enjoy a piece of chocolate and/or a glass of wine.  Better yet, enjoy both together.”

—————————

For sure, I’ll do the chocolate/wine suggestion; not so sure about “dancing it out”.

Right now Codie (who enjoys life as only a Golden Retriever can) is giving me a look that says,  Would you forget the damn laptop already?! It’s time for a walk!!

She’s right.  As usual.

Today’s Takeaway –

-Take it from Codie.  She adores all neighbors as herself.  And she knows how to dance it out.  Talk about joie de vivre!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 10.32.15 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 10.34.43 AM.png

These are Codie lookalikes.  Same joie!

Calling all Baby Boomers, please leave a comment about YOUR go-to self-care practice. Codie wants to hear from you!

The Letter

My mother used to write the most beautiful letters.  They were handwritten, well thought out, and in beautiful penmanship.  A millennial would probably say, what’s penmanship?  Why bother?  You can text or better yet, no words, Instagram!

Muriel (if you have been reading our blog, you would know!) won awards for her beautiful cursive writing.  Me, not so much.  I’m a lefty and write like a doctor (if only I had gone to medical school!). She wrote letters to her boyfriends, caught my father’s attention with love letters that made me blush (when I went into her drawers and furtively read them!), and congratulated friends on their anniversaries, birthdays, marriage of a child, birth of a child, etc!  When my mother-in-law passed away, she wrote the most beautiful letter to her husband, my father-in-law. She expressed her grief and disappointment in not really getting to know her new daughter-in-law, married less than 3 years earlier.

Letters are a thing of the past, sadly because they hold a person’s most private thoughts in a way that a text or email cannot. They can disappear with the stroke of the “delete” key. Whether on heavy stock paper with a monogram (this is what Muriel used) with ball point or ink, they beckon us to read them over and over again.  I have put many of them in my drawers to be discovered unexpectedly as I rifle through underwear.  Once I find one, I sit down and read it again.  A tear may come to my eyes, a smile, a look of fondness and love. They are never to be duplicated again and they do not carry any acronyms: LOL, LMAO, WTF, IDK,  OMG, etc.  Everything is spelled out in full.  T’s are crossed, i’s are dotted, strong messages underlined.

“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” Yehuda Berg

‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”  Mother Teresa

‘To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” Phyllis Theroux

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”- the Bible

I  am of the generation who kept in touch by letter.  I kept my college roommates apprised of my newly married life, my parents, my old friends, and family members.  It took time to write, to compose, to add humor, funny stories.  When you read my letters it was like being in the room with me.  I wrote run on sentences, as I do today and called it my stream of consciousness writing. I loved receiving them in the mail and I hope mine were met with the same enthusiasm as the ones I received.

They are my mementos of a life filled with friendship that I worked very hard to maintain through a lifetime of new jobs and new addresses.

Take the time to pick up the phone, write a real letter on paper and mail it with a stamp, go ring someone’s doorbell to say hello.

We are all busy, even those of us in retirement, so it means that much more when we take the time to connect as human beings.

Today’s Takeaway…

.Write a letter, the old fashioned kind on paper with a ball point pen.  I’m sure you have one somewhere! It will mean more than you know to the person on the receiving end.

. Never underestimate the power of the spoken or written word.  Keep your mind active by writing down your thoughts, whether in a personal journal, blog, or diary.  You will be glad you did.  They will make you smile when you need it most and keep your memories alive when you may have forgotten.

Enjoy the ride

Barclay and Joy

x0x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming Small

Mary Rose filled our glasses and we knitting ladies (loosely termed as I am an awful knitter) toasted Michelle on her retirement.

“What are you looking forward to most?” we asked.

Michelle described a few “more’s”.

Sleep more. Knit more.  Travel more.

Sounds great.  But after the initial exhilaration, some retirees find themselves with more Netflix than more Grand Canyon.

Here are some ideas to get us off our asses (Peggy’s infamous descriptor) physically and mentally.

Say Yes.

Have you seen the Jim Carey movie, Yes Man, where the main character has to say yes to everything?  He finds himself interacting with exhilerating people and having wild-ride experiences.

My friend, Cathy, has said yes to political marches, travel, and continuing her social work.

Jeanne has said yes to tutoring, RV living, and volunteering for Avenues to Independence.

Gina has said yes to bike riding, gardening, and urban renewal projects; Mary Rose – to cradling babies and hanging with her granddaughter; Sally – to travel, family, golf, and taking her beloved dog to nursing homes.

What’s your YES these days?

(A caveat — make sure your YES is not that people-pleasing, forced-into-it type, but comes out of an open heart and a desire to be courageous.)

Find your mission.

What gives you joy?

What are your unique gifts and talents?

What moves you?

Maybe what gives you joy is exactly the spot where you make the world a tad better for others.  One theologian describes this intersection as follows –

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”― Frederick Buechner

My brother, Charlie, a philosophy professor, plans to teach classes to prisoners once he retires. Jeanne, a reading teacher, is helping kids with dyslexia.

It’s OK to Dream Small

Diane says yes in small ways each day.  She is intentional about chatting with grocery store clerks; she shares uplifting  messages on FB, she smiles at strangers.  Her random conversations sometimes end with the other person saying, “I was just meant to talk to you today. I feel so much better. Thank you.”

There’s a song titled Dream Small —

Live well
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
So dream small.

———————————————-

Whether we visit the Grand Canyon or to the Grand Grocery Store, let’s look for more YES moments.

And then we can check out what’s trending on Netflix!

Today’s Takeaway –

-What a wonderful life I lead.  I can’t wait to do this again tomorrow.    Said no one – ever – after watching 6 straight hours of Netflix.  (I speak from experience…)

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

Happy Anniversary!

Joy —

The end of July marks the 6 month anniversary of www.revisionistretirement.com, by Barclay and Joy.  We thought seeing as this is a special milestone (well, it’s not a year or a 5 year, but it is indeed special to us), it was time to celebrate!

We started out with an idea that two lifelong friends adapting to retirement had a lot to say!  We needed an outlet, a cathartic way of getting our thoughts out of our heads and into print.

It’s been great to get to know someone that I’ve known for 37 years even better. We now have a personal call once a week to catch up and a business call to discuss our blog.

Barclay —

“So what do you do?”

When you’re retired, people ask you this all the time.

The voice of my mother echoes,  “Seriously, Barclay, what DO you do all day?  And at day’s end what exactly have you DONE?” 

My life used to be structured (and identified) by raising kids, performing at a job, managing a home.  I was ruled by the alarm clock and the family calendar.

Then, bam… Jared and Alex embarked on their own journeys.  My work life ended. The alarm clock was bored.  The word, retirement, sounded like an abrupt end.  I was grateful but uneasy.

Then came Joy.

Joy and I go back some 40 years.  Joy is one of those people who treasures friendships —  you can pick up right where you left off even if you haven’t spoken in months.  She’ll make you laugh until it hurts.

Now Joy and I speak every week.  We are among the throngs of Baby Boomers – retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day – some of whom have fallen prey to depression, anxiety, over-rumination.  For Joy and me, talking and writing about these pitfalls has been vital – hence the blog idea.  Retirement being revised.  A time of opportunity and growth.  Yes, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks!

Joy’s daughters, Morgan and Dana, have been key to the birth of this blog.  Morgan came up with the name and occasionally acts as editor;  Dana has helped with many an IT issue.  Both have been sounding boards – ever so patient – which must be a tad challenging.  Old dogs can learn but not at a millennial rate!

So far, RR has addressed everything from crepe skin to death.  Overarching themes include –

Aging – Those lovely surprises your mirror announces.  And the mental jolt you get each birthday or when the movie cashier doesn’t even blink when you request a “senior discount”.

The Past – We all have baggage and Jane Fonda suggests that the Third Act is high time for forgiveness and peace.

Passion and Purpose – Finding your sweet spot of service.  Making a difference even if it’s just smiling more, over-tipping, giving someone a sincere, over the top compliment.

Plus…

Loneliness, Marriage, Volunteering, Friendship, Learning, Travel, Mindfulness, Staying Active, Forgetfulness, Parenting adult children.

And lest we forget, Muriel and Peggy have snuck into many a post.

So here’s a new blog post title – You Never Know!

Neither Joy nor I could EVER have anticipated this blogging adventure. We invite you to join us and discover your own revisionist retirement!

Together we’ll find a cure for crepe skin and arm flab — or at least be able to laugh at all things jiggly!

Joy —

Don’t underestimate us!  We both think (maybe in our own delusional minds!) that a Lifetime movie can’t be far behind!  You want to be able to say, I read their blog from the beginning and knew it was special!!!  Don’t miss out on this opportunity!  I will be  played by Julia Roberts (my mouth is the same size as hers and she has large teeth!)  Barclay will be played by Diane Lane.  Sexy at any age!

Above all else keep reading our blog-http://www.revisionistretirement.com

Enjoy the Ride and Raise a Glass!

xox

Barclay and Joy

FAMILY

Whether you call it mishpachah, famiglia, familia, famille, or my peeps, these are the folks you are bound to by blood.  There are memories, secrets, feuds, warmth, feelings, as well as DNA that binds one family member to another.  They are not people we choose, but who by marriage, birth, remarriage, or adoption are part of our life on happy occasions and sad.

Yesterday, was such a day in my family. We all came together to say goodbye to my uncle Morton, my mother’s only sibling.  Muriel  (if you have been reading our blog http://www.revisionistretirement.com you know she was my mother) passed away almost 28 years ago, far too soon, at only 71 yrs old.  (looks super young to me now!) Her brother outlived her to a ripe old age of 94 1/2.  He lived longer than anyone in our family by far and he lived a good life, a happy one.

His daughter FranLisa, my cousin handled his funeral calmly, with composure, and grace.  She read a few paragraphs she had prepared to the small gathering of family and smiled through tears about the man she knew and loved.  The word “kindness” was repeated many times.  He said good morning to people he met at his assisted living facility, folks in the hospital  or  people that needed a smile in the dining room.  He was married to my aunt for 57 years and he worked until he was 74.  He died peacefully truly from old age not from disease or accident , though he had fallen recently and just wasn’t interested in going through physical therapy for the 3rd time.  (I get it)

As I looked around the group gathered in front of our family mausoleum (room for 3    more!) I felt a sense of belonging and connection.  My own daughter stood next to me as well as my husband. I stood next to my cousin and put my arm around her feeling close and touched by her strength in putting her dad to rest.

The service was followed by a lovely lunch at a waterfront restaurant in Westchester, surrounded by people that loved my uncle.  A cousin made the 3 hour drive with his daughter (aided by 2 canes) to recount stories of the old days.  They made me smile and they made him happy to tell them. (and tell them and tell them)

The ties that bind a family should be reinforced, cultivated, nurtured.  The Thanksgiving meal (that everyone in my family always complained about going to) is still the ritual we will remember for many years to come. Soak it in, relish it; for the family that we have in our presence today won’t be here forever, but the emotions we shared will.

Today’s Takeaway…

. Love your family, cherish them, even the crazy aunt that blurts out obscenities or the black sheep of the family that did too many drugs in the 70’s!  They are your flesh and blood and you share a unique history.

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

.

 

 

Codie’s Self-Help Book: Lessons from a Golden Retriever

Look people in the eye.

Each person is special. Listen more.  Love always.

IMG_2957

When things go wrong, hang in there.

Try to see the positive in all circumstances.  You can choose gratitude. Dinner will come soon. Love always.

IMG_3834

Always try your best.

Just because you failed every class you took, keep giving it your best.   Love always.

IMG_3829

Love is patient.

When you come face to face with crankiness, bear with it.  Try not to get jealous. Love always.

IMG_2555

Lend a paw.

Check in with people.  Think of a gift to bring them. A sock will do just fine. Love always.

IMG_E3804

Spread joy.

Find people who are lonely.  Visit them often. Bring a friend.  Love always.

IMG_3848

Laugh more.

When you’re in the car, be sure to look out the window.  You may see something that makes you laugh.   Love always.

IMG_2985

Sleep is VERY important.

Get your full compliment of 15 to 20 hours a day.  If you can sleep on someone’s head, that’s even better.  Dream about loving always.

IMG_0040.jpg

Accept love graciously.

When you’re cute, you’re cute.  What can I say?   Love always.

Version 2

Version 2

Live in the now.

All you have is the present moment.  Enjoy it!  Love always.

IMG_2941

Today’s Takeaway:

-Now that we’re retired, we can listen more to our doggie friends.

-Codie’s book will be on the shelves soon. Watch for it!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

and Codie, Winston, and Colby