Thar She Blows!!!

My husband and I had been in the city to celebrate a big birthday, I mean “BIG”!!  We had done it up right with tickets to a Broadway show and dinner with our daughters.  It was a lovely evening and night. Being 2 1/2 hours from home, we didn’t get to our house until 2:30 am.

Exhausted and bleary eyed, we approached our house in total darkness.  The lights that we had diligently left on for the dogs and us, were off.  Strange!  We thought perhaps the person who had stopped by to feed them and walk them had inadvertently turned them off.  As we make our way to the front door, we feel the sensation of brush and branches beneath our feet, so much so that we cannot make it through the front door without stumbling. On hands and knees we crawled inside (I’m not kidding!) to find the power out in a darkened house.

A very large branch had apparently broken off a massive tree and diagonally hit the house, just missing a large glass picture window!!  The power had been cut by the tree ripping the wires off the utility poll and the dish providing internet service had been smashed to smithereens leaving a basketball sized hole in our roof!!  With flashlights we surveyed the damage and were shocked to see what could have been death to our sleeping doggies and God Forbid major damage to the house or occupants had we been home!

Having lived through flooding in lower Westchester, a tree falling on one’s house is not so bad.  It scared the life out of me thinking about what could have been.  The damage to the roof is minimal, the power is back on and our internet outage has caused us to use the library in our community.  If all we lost was some landscaping and a tree, I consider myself very fortunate.

Today’s Takeaway…

. Never take anything for granted.  We are not guaranteed a copacetic life! Shit happens!  If it’s not life threatening and there is no blood, consider yourself lucky!

. At least the tree didn’t fall on my husband’s big birthday.  Technically, it fell in the wee hours of the morning  the next day.  However, if a tree falls and there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound?!! 🙂 The great questions of life!

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR HOMEOWNER’S POLICY CURRENT!!!

Enjoy the Ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

Sophie says…

photo of Jessica and Sophie

Homage to Sophie

This post is written for my dear friend Jessica, whom I have known since we were 14 years old.  I am blessed to have several very long term friendships. I treasure them for one cannot duplicate the experiences a person shares when going from child to teenager to young adult, to 3rd chapter Boomer. Jessica and I have shared many memorable experiences together, but this is not about us, but rather her dog  Sophie.

Sadly Sophie was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor, quite out of the blue and at the tender age of 8. She was this little mop of a dog – furry, sweet, lovable, and adored by neighbors and kids on the UWS of New York City. In Jessica’s own words, “She was a puppy at heart until the end-bouncing around, behaving silly and making everyone laugh.  She was the mascot of her building-loved hanging out in the lobby to greet everyone.”

Sophie was trained to be a therapy dog and participated in an amazing program teaching empathy and building self esteem for middle school kids-a fair shake for youth.  She flirted with the other therapy dogs, used every opportunity to inch her way over to them and nuzzle.  It made everyone around her laugh.

What better role can a dog play (besides giving their owners unqualified love) but to bring joy to others who have so little, whether emotionally or physically impaired?  This was Sophie’s gift, her special talent and she did it with humor, tenderness, and compassion.

She came into Jessica’s life when she needed it most, having gone through a very difficult time. I truly believe dogs (cats too, if you are a cat person) are little people in fur suits who know us better than we sometimes know ourselves.  (metaphorically speaking of course)  They snuggle when we need a hug, nuzzle up to us when we need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.  They are there for joy, as well as sorrow and are never too busy to be there for you.  No dog has said, “Sorry, can I call you back later, I’m in the midst of something.”

To add a bit of levity to what is a very sad story, I must include the animal communicator tale. What’s that you said, “animal communicator?” “Put simply, animal communication is a silent, telepathic language that functions via deepened intuition.” (SheKnows)

 

An animal communicator was contacted (Jessica’s sister had suggested this in her hour of need) and a conversation took place via phone. The communicator informed Jessica that Sophie was stressed out and that she, Jessica, needed to lighten up.  “Too much negative energy!” Now this animal communicator was not told anything beforehand about Sophie’s tumor or that Jessica was faced with this life or death decision.  STRESSING HER OUT!!!  Really?

As Jessica told me this story over lunch at Barney Greengrass on the UWS, I was ready to fall off my chair laughing. Jessica knew that  out of all her friends, I would be the one to appreciate this the most.  I, who have always been superstitious, a believer in astrology, psychics, reincarnation, etc.  (We once went to Staten Island on a bus for an incredible reading by a woman that occasionally would be hired by the NYPD to help find missing children!  I digress…)

The animal communicator was then told about Sophie’s diagnosis to explain why there was stress and she proceeded to take a different approach.  She couldn’t make the decision for Jessica, but she did assure her that all Sophie wanted was to be near family and to feel loved.

Reiki was administered to both dog and human.  Jessica reported that suddenly Sophie started running around like the puppy she had always been.

Jessica knew that she had done everything she could and that Sophie understood and felt loved.

Todays Takeaway- 

.. Dogs (cats) are special.  They bring us joy and comfort.  As we age, perhaps, ever more importantly, they give us a reason to keep to a regimen, to let them out in the morning, to feed them, to walk them,to provide company, solace.  Never underestimate the power of a pet! Who knows, it might be someone’s soul inhabiting the body?  But that we will save for another post!

-Kacie and Colby (Barclay’s and my senior citizen dogs) are respectively 14 and 17.  We know their time with us on earth is limited.  Love them with all your heart and be sensitive to their needs, as you would want someone to understand yours.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

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Can We Tawk?! WARNING: This post contains content that may be unsuitable for our immediate relatives, members of the opposite sex, and the more *ahem* puritanical.

Take a seat, because this is going to be an honest and frank discussion about a topic that doesn’t typically get the attention it deserves – not for our demographic at least. But this is 2018, and we’ve prided ourselves on being modern women all our adult lives – let’s buck up and be honest!

If you’re squeamish about women’s sexuality and sexual health (and let’s face it, many sadly are) proceed with caution.

Here we go…

There are some developments  Down There which become hard to ignore once you hit a certain age.

Down There may become a desert. That is, unless a laugh or sneeze causes an unwelcome squirt from not-the-right source.

Down There may turn on you and cruelly become a source of discomfort versus pleasure.

Down There may taunt you, saying “Use it or Lose it!” Yet who wants to use it if ones skin is akin to tissue paper and ones libido is gone with the wind. (And speaking of wind, let’s just say our control isn’t what it used to be.)

After all, IT is a muscle that needs to be flexed, exercised. We thought it would last forever! Why didn’t anyone tell us?!! We would have used it more at an earlier age! Wherefore art thou, Oprah? You helped us through menopause – now what about our post 60 sex lives?

Men have long had Viagra. But options for extending female sexual longevity are limited, to say the least. In the case where options exist, information is scarce, lacking in scientific evidence and largely inaccessible. Despite taboo, existing research has found that sexual activity in older age is strongly associated with improved mental health and overall wellbeing. (J. DeLamater, E. Koepsel. Relationships and sexual expression in later life: A biopsychosocial perspective. 2015; 3759.) Making the case for this important aspect of self care!

Thanks to modern medicine, we’ve been bestowed with the gift of “cosmetic gynecology”. You may be familiar with the euphemism, “vaginal rejuvenation”. If you think about it, one can lift droopy eyelids, sagging turkey necks, and cheeks on both your face – and your behind – so why not other parts of the female anatomy?  As it turns out, whatever you want rejuvenated can be! Like Miss Clairol used to say, “Only your hairdresser knows for sure…” Now your gynecologist knows too!

We’re all for doing what we can to improve ourselves – with the caveat that it’s not just about aesthetics. Many women experience pain with sex due to a variety of reasons, some of which can be treated with a simple surgical procedure. And an important side note – inner beauty is key… many past RR posts have echoed that. However, if it makes you feel better, inside or out, then we say –  get over the embarrassment, squelch the giggles, and go for that rejuvenated whatever!

One such procedure is the Mona Lisa. Click her innocent face below to find out more. Maybe Mona will share the secret behind that sly smile of hers!

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The website touts pictures of happy Baby Boomers who seem to have sparky and uncomplicated sex lives.  5 Things Nobody Tells You About Sex After 60 | Prevention
https://www.prevention.com/sex/g20432982/sex-after-60/

So did our coy ML have her namesake procedure? Only her gynecologist knows for sure!

We have to admit, she looks quite content!

Today’s Takeaway:

– See someone you can talk to, who is trained in Down There. There is very limited info out there on the safety and efficacy of  these treatments – so do your due diligence! Dr. Adam Ostrzenski is credited with discovering the G-spot, so our money is on him… Funny, we could have sworn it was discovered by a woman!

–  If Oprah isn’t chiming in, then we Baby Boomers should start being transparent about what’s happening and what’s not. Our health – even our sexual health – matters!

Be on the lookout for more Can We Tawk? posts!

Muriel and Peggy, you can come back now.  

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Just when you think…

Just when you think the memories you create with your offspring are long forgotten, something triggers a recollection from years gone by. When it happens, treasure it because it doesn’t happen often.

Such a thing happened a couple of weeks ago when my 30 year old daughter and I went on a shopping spree at Woodbury Commons. We had not done this for years and I knew it could go either way.  It could turn out to be a lovely afternoon looking for good buys on designer duds or a frustrating experience of a lot of window shopping, but no deals!

We arrived at 3:00 in the afternoon, which is kind of late for such an excursion, me not realizing this was 1 1/2 hours away from where we live. It was a Friday afternoon so I thought how many people could there be, not realizing that it now targets a huge Asian tourist demographic.  Since it is also close to several Chasidic communities, it was packed with them, although not sure why they weren’t rushing home to prepare for Shabbat!  I guess when a bargain calls you, one must answer-it’s in the Talmud!

My daughter is a big looker and knows her labels.  She was born into a family of designer conscious women, preceded by my mother Muriel (if you  have been reading http://www.revisionistretirement.com for the last five months) my grandmother Francis, and my great grandmother Sarah.  Her mission was initially a pair of Celine sunglasses, which she did find at Saks Off Fifth, but she managed to score a big coup with black suede Yves St. Laurent short boots reduced from $900 to $200!  My mother and grandmother were surely smiling! We had a lot of fun looking and she trying clothes on, best part being for the first time she bought everything herself! As we were walking, exhausted to the core, she asked me if I remembered a trip to Arizona where I was staying at the Biltmore for a work related conference. She had flown in from Southern California, where she was attending college and met me for a few days relaxation.  We drove to Sedona to see the beautiful red rock formations that it is famous for and bonded, as we had many other times. She brought it up out of the blue, as well as another memory of us going to Point Pleasant Beach in New Jersey on a work day (me playing hooky) to catch the last vestiges of summer on a September morn.  We then found a wonderful fish shack for lunch and ate steamers and drank wine.  My daughter, who I always think forgets these memories brought them up to the surface, related them to me, and touched my soul.  It made me smile to think of how much what I had experienced with her had meant to her. I always knew they meant a lot to me!  So when you think that it’s all forgotten by your adult age child, something magical happens and you are brought back to that special place!

Today’s Takeaway…

Treasure your time with your children and give them credit for remembering special times.  You may not think what you do will be remembered or even acknowledged, but it is and it will.

Make new memories for both of you!  It will make you smile in old age!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Father’s Day 2018

Joy

As homage to our fathers and the role they have played in our lives, only fitting that Barclay and I write a tribute to Ben, (my father) and Champe (Barclay’s father).

Ben, full name Benjamin, known as “Budy” (Buwdy not Buddy) by family and friends, was a character! I have never met nor will I probably ever meet  a person quite like my father.  He was my Jewish mother!  He worried about me from the day I was born.  He went around the house tightening medicine bottles so they couldn’t be opened  by my little fingers, worried that I was going to fall out the window of our ground floor apt,  (with bars on it!!), that I would ingest rat poison or be kidnapped by an intruder!

We had a radio on a shelf in the kitchen when I was growing up that had a long cord dangling from it.  One day, in my infinite two year old wisdom, I pulled the cord down with the radio tumbling hitting my lip and causing a profuse amount of bleeding to ensue.  I was taken to the emergency room of the nearby hospital and after a bunch of stiches left with a permanent scar on my upper lip.  (much later lasered by a dermatologist) After that incident, my very obsessive father became even worse, if that was possible, and hovered over my every move.  It is a wonder I grew up half way sane!  (I did say half way!)

Ben loved me dearly and I always knew that.  He was a wonderful father and I always knew I could count on him for anything and everything.  Nothing was a bother, nothing was silly or pointless when it came to me. (looking for monsters under my bed or in this case burglars.  (Upper West Side in the 60’s, not the UWS of today!)  I was blessed to have this person in my life until he was 88 years old and I still smile when I think about him.

His image brings a tear of longing and a flood of memories to mind.  I am the person I am today mostly because of him. I have, unfortunately passed on traits of worry, anxiety, and obsession to both daughters.  He also passed on traits of extreme loyalty, kindness towards others, and generosity.  Ben, Happy Father’s Day to you.  I know you hear me!

David is a wonderful father and I toast to you too sweetheart for now and many years to come.  Without you, there would be no Morgan nor Dana!

 

Barclay

“You’re my favorite daughter!”  Dad loved to say.

“But, Dad, I’m your only daughter!”

I received unconditional love from my father.  Even through my eating disorder days and wild weight fluctuations, he told me I was beautiful.  He also taught me tennis, dancing, and reading.  He was the car pool dad who made Dairy Queen stopovers.  He was a gentleman to his core.  And in the words of my half-brother in dad’s eulogy, “He was just plain nice.”

Champe was 46 when I was born and had seen a lot of life.   He had endured a painful divorce and had lost a son to leukemia.  He had weathered a difficult relationship with his own father who reportedly made poor financial choices and may have been alcoholic.  Champe, the only child, left home at 16, having caught the flying bug.  He went on to be the youngest airmail pilot in the US.

He retired from Pan American when I was 10.  So I had the benefit of his “mellow” days when he relished life and was devoted to Charlie, me, and mom whom he patted on the butt in front of us, stole kisses, and exclaimed, “Isn’t she beautiful?”

Brett is every bit a Champe.  A true gentleman, a great storyteller, wise, winsome, humble, full of integrity, and just plain nice.  He has relished his dad role, even though such a role was not modeled for him. I am in awe.

Champe is smiling now, probably swatting my mom on the butt, licking a Dairy Queen chocolate cone, and looking down on Brett, saying “Well done, son!”

Happy Fathers Day to Champe and Brett!

 

Today’s Takeaway –

. Cherish this person called father for they will not be around forever.  Try to be understanding as they age, treasure their memory forever.  They, just like your mother made you the person you are today.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox  Barclay and Joy

 

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What do I want to be when I grow up?

high and mightyThe song by The Beatles is going through my head as I type. You know the one, “When I’m Sixty-Four”-“When I get older losing my hair…will you still need me, will you still feed me…  I’m not there yet, but it’s getting closer!  Paul actually wrote that song when he was 16 years old! The naiveté of the young!

Now that I am back from Italy and settled into my real life in upstate New York, I knew I had to have a regimen.  If I learned nothing else from last year’s slump in my normally upbeat personality, it was that too much time on my hands is very unhealthy.  I decided I didn’t want a full time job, nor a true part time job like last year, but rather a schedule of things I would be doing on a regular basis.

Being a very fortunate person, a job kind of landed in my lap after some initial inquiries to my next door neighbor.  What did I know best?  Selling advertising.  I had done this , selling space as it is called, for over 25 years. A beautiful quarterly publication catering to the Hudson Valley was the perfect fit.  It would allow me to set my own hours, work as much as I want or as little as I want while getting to know my neighbors, community.  I was used to selling $50k print pages and $100k digital programs, whereas now I would be calling on local cheese shops, yoga studios, farm to table restaurants.  I thought it could be fun! I am ready to hit the pavement next week and set Columbia County on fire!

Mondays are mah jongg. mah jongg Mondays (how alliterative!) I really do love this game!  It’s challenging, fun, and it gets the brain waves flowing. Tuesdays and Thursdays I will sell advertising, Wednesday is pickle ball at the local Y.  My husband and I will play in a tournament this weekend.  Watch out Hudson Valley! Friday is my latest addition.  I will be volunteering at an equine center called “High & Mighty”, therapeutic riding and grooming for children with disabilities.  I love horses, I like children, and it’s eight minutes from my house.  Doing good really does make people feel good.  25% of folks who volunteer say it helps them manage a chronic illness, 78% say it helps lower stress levels, 84% say it improves their mood ,95% say it makes their community a better place and 96% say it enriches their sense of purpose in life. These stats come from a study by happify.com.  (now, tell me could they be anything but positive with a URL like that!)

That’s my week, that’s my regimen, with a sprinkling of yoga, preferably hot yoga, thrown in, long walks down country lanes with my dog and my husband, a bit of hiking, a bit of baking, and making great dinners now that I can! Duh, and blogging, of course! I have learned things about myself and my dear co-blogger that I never would have known! It’s a good start and I am happy to be where I am in life. I am in this third chapter of life full of energy, stamina, dreams yet to be realized, and a zest for all life has to offer.  Don’t put things off.  Live it to the fullest and enjoy!

Today’s Takeaway…

. Take that first year of retirement to get to know you!  You are not the worker bee anymore, not the 9-5 or 6 or 7 career woman rushing home to make dinner, chores, etc.  You don’t need a time table to figure things out.  It will come to you.  Be patient with this new you.

. Have a regimen.  Volunteer, work at a cheese shop, take dance lessons, play pickle ball.  Whatever it is you’ve wanted to and couldn’t.  Now’s the time!

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

Cannolis, Gelato, and the Pope!

I don’t usually like people’s posts that have just come back from a trip.  I mean really, popewho cares about your trip but you and your very closest friends and family.  (that’s a maybe!)  I had to make an exception this time because not only was this the continued celebration of David’s and my 40th anniversary (celebrating began in November), but he is to have a big, and I mean big number birthday.  Those of you who know me know how kooky I am about age, so no numbers please!  Let’s just say it’s big and he looks about 15 years younger than his age.  Good genes!

I have been many wonderful places on vacation, but Italy was not one of them.  The reason being that my very fortunate daughter went with her best friend from high school when she was 15 yrs old.  Nice to have an Italian best friend with a  family home in Tuscany!  Being a Baby Boomer parent (hate this, but I am the epitome of the stereotype!) I took this into consideration when planning trips and took us to France, Britain, Turkey, Greece, Spain, etc as opposed to doing what my husband and I wanted to do! Anyway, finally, our time had come.  Children grown, last family trip about 3 years ago (hope there will be more, but who knows with schedules, boyfriends, significant others!)  With an Italian last name, De Santo, Italy was calling.

I planned a trip to Lake Como, Rome, and Venice. (Florence and Amalfi will have to wait) with the brand new  Hilton in Como being the foundation.  We chose mid May since the crowds have not swelled yet and the heat is not oppressive.  When you are retired, you can pretty much go anywhere anytime!

The trip was amazing, totally living up to every expectation.  I was awe struck by the beauty, the history, the people, the food, the wine; who wouldn’t be?  The Trevi fountain, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pieta, the Grand Canal, everything in Venice, and on and on.  To see these works of beauty in person cannot be described.  They are magical, mystifying, awe inspiring.  I am a woman of hyperbole, as most of my friends and family know (I have to live up to my given name, Joy.  It’s tough!) In this case hyperbole is justified.

Wednesday morning in Vatican City is the papal audience. I wanted to do something special for my husband so I purchased tickets, which allow you to skip the lines and get a prime seat for viewing.  Being Jewish, this does not symbolize the same to me as it would to someone of the Christian faith.  However, I must say that sitting waiting for his holiness to make his rounds Pope mobile style was incredible.  I was so moved by the love, devotion, and admiration swelling all around me.  I too saw this man’s face and could understand why Pope Francis is so revered.  It sent chills down my spine and I smiled all morning.  A true once in a lifetime experience!

I am back home with a full I Phone full of pictures, wonderful memories, tired feet, jet lagged, well fed, well vinoed (past tense of vino!) and just plain thrilled to have seen this beautiful country. So it’s a bit messed up politically, there is no urgency for doing anything (reminds me of Mexico), and it certainly isn’t the Empire it was in Nero’s time!  It is a must on anyone’s bucket list and one of the most beautiful countries in the world. If you can’t be romantic in Italy, there is no hope for you! You are made of stone!

Today’s Takeaway...

Travel, open up your world, open up your eyes, open up your mind.  It’s a great big wonderful globe. There is nothing that comes close to understanding our similarities and differences culturally like travel.

Add some romantic time back into the marriage.  Getting away from your routine, even when you are retired, is special and puts the spice back into a relationship when you are away from the routine of everyday life. Some of the sexiest people on earth come from Italy!  Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren knew a thing or two about the spice of life!  Viva Italia!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy