These seem to be two very controversial questions lately. Especially after COVID, where we have all been confined to our homes, apartments, (or wherever we might have the fortune or misfortune to find ourselves)…spiritual practice rules are up for debate. Continue reading →
Years ago when I realized I had inherited the gardening gene from a favorite uncle of mine, I lived in a different house, on a different street, and had different sun exposure.
There was full sun on all sides of my just-built house. It was fun planting flowers such as snapdragons, marigolds, zinnias, geraniums and I achieved a profusion of flowers and consistently brilliant colors. I spent hundreds of dollars every spring purchasing annuals to accomplish this result.
Then, we moved, and guess what? I now live in a house with mature maple and birch trees. This translates into a yard with almost no sun. Can you say…gardening challenge? As noted before I was used to lots of sunlight and could grow almost all sun-loving plants.
So now I am limited to impatients, begonias, hostas, and whatever else thrives in shade…ummmm,(mushrooms anyone?). Unfortunately, I find this rather limiting, not to say, quite boring and rather unrewarding.
I decided that the areas that I created were far too extensive for annuals, and most annuals need…say it again, SUN. So, a perennial shade garden would be the way to go.
To make a long story short, I was gifted a couple of beautiful ferns. Probably two or three and planted them. I enjoyed the fact that once you planted them, you didn’t need to stake, fertilize, or replant yearly. In addition, they added a lushness, a cool, soft, green to my garden.
Bring on the ferns!
Well, now several years later, guess what? I have so many ferns that I don’t know what to do with them. And, once ferns take over, they produce so much more shade that they block other shade-loving perennials from flourishing. Now, this could be pretty if you don’t like a variation in your garden, but since I need variety, this just doesn’t work for me.
Another problem… they are beautiful in the spring, most of the summer, BUT when it gets to the “dog days of summer” they turn brown and look like shit – really ugly, brown, dry, crumply leaves. The result, a really uninviting garden.
So, this spring I have been trying to keep on top of this problem by digging out ferns by the bag, bucket, and garbage can full. So far, I have dug out around a hundred and fifty ferns and there appears to be no end. Just a note–this needs to be done when the ferns are first coming up otherwise they tend to flop over and look quite stupid for the duration of the summer.
I have a feeling that I am doomed to have this be an unending problem. So gardeners beware… don’t plant ferns unless you want a “fern garden”!
Or, look more on the positive side and trust gardener and blogger Janet Kilburn Phillips at cronesgarden.com when she says…
“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”
What is it with dogs? Are you one of the people that celebrated National Pet Day earlier this month? Do you love a furry friend?
Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend…obviously never had a dog!
Do you need unconditional love, something to love you forever and ever (sounds great, right!)?
Do you love having something warm and fuzzy to cuddle with, share a bed with?
When Mollie, a liver/white tri English Springer Spaniel that was with us for fourteen years died, I said it would be my last.
I just couldn’t put my heart through another heartbreak.
Well, six months passed, and guess what? We broke down and got another fuzzy creature. She is a black/white tri-colored springer spaniel named Emma. What a sweetheart, a pain in the ass, a total companion, a bed hog, has her own opinion and needs, and we wouldn’t give her up for anything.
Furry Friends – The PROS…
I have read that owning a pet has several benefits for older adults. This includes higher levels of physical activity…which results in better health. Having a dog forces us to create daily routines or to have a purpose to get out and MOVE.
Dogs offer emotional support and give us something to talk about with other people (other than how upset we are with the latest political announcement or our upcoming knee surgery).
With a dog, you get constant love and affection, unconditional adoration (we all can use a little of that), lots and lots of wet sloppy kisses, and let’s not forget the lack of bed space. Is this a pro? Well, some of us might think so.
…and the CONS
The case against owning a canine fur baby is as follows (but not limited to): Constant dog hair on your pants, brown spots in a once lush green lawn, ongoing poop duty, and the frustration when they are trying to communicate, but you don’t agree (time to go to bed or wanting to stay outside).
Dogs also need exercise, rain or shine, cold or warm. If you are sick, or well, you need to suck it up and get out there with a potty bag and treats in your pocket. How about the grooming duties, brushing, and teeth brushing (yes, we are supposed to actually brush a dog’s teeth).
I could do without the muddy paws prints on my white kitchen floor and cream living room carpet in the spring and rainy weather.
It is also a pain in the ass standing outside in the freezing cold, in the middle of the night, (even when Fido doesn’t really have to do anything) because he just wants you to be awake with him.
I, personally, have had a lot of pets including, birds of all shapes and sizes, chameleons, fish, hamsters, turtles. But my nine dogs (over the years) are in a special category that is unique and exclusive…
I have read or heard it from somewhere that the best compliment to a deceased pet is to replace it with another. I totally agree. Or, to quote American novelist, satirist, and poet, Erica Jong…
” Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.”
What do you do when your an active woman with a full life and your body starts to fall apart? Well, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician…
At the office visit, my doctor informed me that that I no longer needed a mammogram, pap smear, or colonoscopy. I found this interesting so I asked, “Why is that?” He skirted around the question, but I guessed, “You mean I am just too old?”
Well, the fact is, say…if cancer is detected, I am actually too old to go through the process of working on a cure or whatever….
Midlife: That time in your life when you finally get your head together and your body starts to fall apart!
Let that sink in a moment.
That made me feel, kind of, sort of WEIRD.
I never thought that when you got older you kind of just let things go since they are going to go to hell anyway. I guess I’m just not quite ready for that mindset.
So are we just supposed to die young? It seems to me that our bodies are set to work until a certain age and then they seem to fall apart. (I seem to have gone past the life expectancy of my right knee!)
I have come to the conclusion that the reason the life expectancy of people years ago was much younger was that the body parts are for a certain age. If you have to deal with worn-out knees, painful hips, or other decrepit joints, it just really takes the life right out of you.
I had been doing really well–physically, that is. (We won’t talk about mentally.) I love to exercise–mostly walking with my dog, Emma. Well, I loved to when I had a knee that actually worked.
But you want to know what is so hard about this whole situation? I don’t want to be “layed up” for weeks and weeks! I have always prided myself on being in fair shape. But now that I have reached the ripe old age of xx, o.k. 76, I am really bummed out about this because I don’t have the time or the patience to have downtime or a recoup time. My life has to go on. as. it. is.
If you look around, you will see people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs. That is because their longevity has run out and they are spending a lot of time and money just trying to keep their muscles, joints, and bodies working.
I now understand, but don’t want to believe it.
So, here is to one knee replacement, with another one to follow. Onward you old body. You need to keep up with my wants and my desire to keep active and enjoy life.
So, if you ever find yourself in a similar position, your body seems to be ready to leave the party (and way too soon for the rest of you)…suck it up! Do whatever it takes to make your body do what it takes to keep up with your active lifestyle.
I remember driving with my mom in the passenger seat. I might comment on a pretty house. She answered me with silence.
When I asked my mom for her opinion on how a new dress looked on me, she would reply with “I wonder what it would look like on me?” She wouldn’t answer my question.
If I asked for her opinion about a new couch or a new pair of pillows for the living room, she would only respond to my question by asking, “What do you think?” She WOULD NOT add her 2 cents worth.
Opinions. I hated that my mom had NONE. (It still pisses me off and she passed away almost 20 years ago).
Now I am an older woman and I don’t want to be voiceless. I want others to ask my opinion and value my thoughts. I have experience, damn it, and life has taught me a thing or two.
You go through life with your kids (as babies, toddlers, and young children…and they adore you! Then they become more independent, but still need you and start growing into their own. When they become “tweens” and teens, the change begins. This is not a fun period of life for a lot of parents of teenagers, as you begin to feel that you are viewed as out of touch. They know everything and work very hard to show this to you. Actually, the fact is this is when they are the dumbest. (This must be true as I read it on the internet!!)
Fortunately, when your children become twenty-something adults, they seem to love your opinions, some of your tastes, and are usually, you see I say (usually), fun to have around.
Then, when your children have children of their own, they become your friends and you love to be around them. Grandparents are VERY valuable!!!
Then, something happens, they bring around their friends. They have fun talking and sharing ideas with each other. Since you have been having a good time with your child/children you feel justified to share in their conversation. (Especially if they are on your domain.)
Well, guess what, I have discovered that some of their friends think you are a total uneducated, unworldly, and just plain boring person! What?!? I have gotten the feeling, somehow, that I am “in the way”, an obstacle to navigate around.
The result…people either ignore your insightful comments or ignore you completely. I’ve gotten this look that says, “We were talking…who are you and what do you know about anything”?
I’ve seen several articles over the years about the “invisibility” of older people, especially women. See here, here, and here.
If you are lucky you might even get an opportunity to share a thought or experience. After you ponder this idea, god forbid, you think your opinion must be needed or even appreciated. Well, think again. You must have happened to have been included because you probably heard the conversation, by accident I’m sure, and thought surely they wanted your opinion. Don’t kid yourself. This is not the case. The proof is when you are told, “I knew I shouldn’t have shared this topic with you.” So much for being included.
I had a mother who never gave an opinion. It seemed like It made me think that she must not be very smart since she never expressed herself. Well, guess what, I now know why. She just got shot down so many times that she decided it wasn’t worth it. So she just gave up.
On the other hand, my mother-in-law gave opinions when asked (usually not what you wanted to hear), but everyone loved her for it. One of my favorite memories of her when I asked her for her opinion about a rustic mirror that I put above my sofa. Her response? “I think it is the stupidest looking thing I have ever seen!” On other occasions, she would reply with, “Well, YOU have to live with it.” She shared her unvarnished opinion with heart and an indifference to whether you would agree or not. It still makes me giggle when I think of the vehemence with which she shared many opinions.
Well, guess what? This old senior citizen will never shut up, so get used to it. Somewhere there has to be someone that likes my opinions and wants to listen to some very worthy and worldly advice. I want to be heard and my opinions appreciated by people over the age of four!!!!.
So what is the solution? Do you have a suggestion? I am not going to give up who I am. I am going to continue to express my opinion. My mom lost her voice when it wasn’t valued. I don’t want that to happen to me…
Meditation is supposed to be a wonderful way to relax, come to terms with your inner self, help relax your body, help your mind focus, blah, blah, blah.
Well, you know what? I have found meditation to be a huge waste of time. I have tried, really, I have tried!
Come on inner peace…I don’t have all day!
(I know people around me would sa I HAVEN’T really tried,(see here) but that is just not true.)
My introduction–and conclusion–to meditation was a couple of years ago. I went to a meditation workshop with my sister. Inside a church, on a Saturday was the destination for the day (ALL day mind you).. We were to sit in a pew, a hard pew at that. To begin our day, there was a speaker for a short time. Then we were to sit. and. meditate. This consisted of clearing our minds, relaxing, centering (this means controlling and balancing yourself), not talking, sitting quietly, and, well, MEDITATING!!!!
So…I have a hard time meditating. It was a BEAUTIFUL, mild, sunny day in January for that workshop. The fresh snow was pearly white, and it was just a gorgeous winter day.
We were supposed to sit and be quiet for a whole morning, afternoon, AND into the night! I just couldn’t do it. Sometime in the early afternoon I told my sister I had to get outside or I might crack up, or at least have a nervous breakdown. My energy level was at a high, I needed to move and do something, anything, and I felt like I would run a marathon.
Unfortunately, when I try to meditate my brain just won’t shut off. I understand that the goal was to develop my psychological well-being. Its a calming thing to do. Unfortunately, to me, it felt rstless, like I was wasting time. I would rather do just about anything other than just sitting,immobile, trying to clear my mind.
Give me a book, that would work.
Paint a wall, that would work.
Weed a garden, yes, that would work.
I guess I will have to call one of these activities my type of mediation.
The first day of spring this year is just around the corner. And that gets me thinking about…”Spring House Cleaning”! Crazy, I know. Isn’t this an antiquated activity? I remember when some of the most beautiful spring days were dedicated to emptying out one room of a house at a time. Then we spent days cleaning windows, washing walls, scrubbing floors, shampooing carpets, organizing drawers, sorting out closets, you get the idea. We used to basically clean the whole damn house, from top to bottom, one room at a time. Continue reading →
Almost 7 years ago, we began by introducing ourselves, “Sidetracked Sisters are Sandy & Judy (sisters) and Lisa & Michelle (sisters). We are 4 sides of the same coin…(hmmmmm – how is that possible?). Some say we are very much alike, yet others say we are as different as they come. We are family and LOVE to torment each other.”
But you probably know that already if you’ve been following us for a while.
Sidetracked Sisters started as a home-based crafting group. After several years, we began writing our blog where we shared thoughts and 178 writings on random topics.Continue reading →
Here are six tips for having a good relationship with your mother-in-law.
Doris wasn’t just a mother-in-law, but a fabulous friend. Personally, I feel she had quite a bit more to overlook in me in the beginning as I was selfish, opinionated, and just plain stupid. Example – I had my second child and was not up to par. It was spring and, of course, flower planting time. I being the perfectionist (and this is where stupid and selfish comes in) did the unthinkable… To be nice she planted a peachy/pink bed of petunias in an area where I would usually put, I think, red. Would you believe that when I felt up to it, I actually replaced her petunias with my preferred color? When I think of that today I just cringe. She never said a word, but I’ll bet she was not impressed with me.
Tip 1 – Be thankful for the little things they do for you and be gracious
When my husband and I started going together we were of different religions. I was with a girlfriend that was Lutheran, the same as my mother-in-law, and she said to me. “Why doesn’t Art find a nice Lutheran girl to date?” At the time I was appalled. Today I think it is pretty funny as later in life I turned to Lutheran and she turned to the religion that I had been for her second husband.
Tip 2 – Don’t sweat the small stuff. There is always tomorrow and things change
The two of us came from entirely different backgrounds. She was a farm girl and I was a city brat. Her taste was totally different than mine and we had a good time teasing about my exotic, or just plain different taste than hers. One time after putting up a half-moon mirror in my family room I asked her what she thought and she replied, “I think it looks totally stupid.” O.K. then!!! I had grown up enough by this time to actually laugh it off and I still have that totally stupid mirror still hanging in my family room.
Tip 3 – Appreciate true honesty and don’t take it personally
She was always there when I needed her, or just a phone call away. She actually got a warning ticket for speeding on Center Street to come and wash my kitchen floor. I was getting ready for one of the girl’s weddings and she thought I could use some help. The officer asked her where she was going in such a hurry, 50 in a 25-speed zone, and she said to wash my daughter-in-law’s floor. He gave her a warning, but I’ll bet there were a few laughs down at the station after that. I hope none of them knew me so as to judge me, expecting this poor older lady to wash my kitchen floor?.
Tip 4 – Appreciate the things they do for you even if it is not necessary
When I planted my perennial garden I worked during the day and had to get my plants in after dark for some reason. My mother and mother-in-law sat on logs in my backyard with flashlights to help me see what I was doing. My backyard neighbor had to hang over the fence in the morning to see what the hell was going on.
Tip 5 – Appreciate the big things they do for you
I could go on and on. She has since passed on and I miss her terribly. I miss our late evening gab sessions on the phone. Her stories that went on and on, and her being there for me was so enjoyable. Sure, she made me a little crazy sometimes, but I learned to overlook her differences and she overlooked mine. When she told me that I was more like a daughter to her than a daughter-in-law that was the ultimate compliment.
Tip 6 – Enjoy their differences and learn from them
They seem to have a book of knowledge that they love to share. Remember that they also compete with your own mother on most occasions and also learn how not to tread on toes.
Who thinks that Halloween is strictly for kids. I have noticed that a lot of adults sure know how to enjoy themselves. I have had a couple of fun memories that still make me laugh about Halloween!
First of all, you have to know me to know that I have a really weird sense of humor. I love to pull practical jokes. I get totally hysterical when I get a funny result to the point, you know, where you have to bend down on one knee so as not to pee your pants!!!! This, of course, does not make me the most popular person to anybody, including my family.
Picture this – I was at Walmart with my daughter and her youngest son, Nathan. He was 3 years old. He was fascinated with all the scary masks and was totally engrossed to the point he didn’t hear me when I kept calling to him. I put on the scariest mask I could find and kept calling him to look at me. He didn’t pay attention. So, I got down on my knees, got close to him, and said, “Nate!” He finally looked at me and when he noticed me, he let out the most awful, blood-curdling, loud scream and proceeded to run away from me, racing down the aisle to get away from the monster I had become. My daughter, with her baby girl, Jessica, in tow in another aisle, heard this and thought he got killed.
Another time that I still find myself laughing hysterically is when my oldest daughter was two years old. She had on a red snowsuit, with a sign that said, “trick or treat”. Plus she had on a silly witch mask Being she was only two, she was really dazed and confused as to what was going on. It was dark out and I took her to a neighbors house. Put her up on their porch. At this point, a group of other trick or treaters came and kind of pushed her aside. When the lady opened the door Lisa was behind it and was pushed off the porch and fell onto one of the bushes. Trust me, she wasn’t hurt, but when she looked back at me with this dumb, no expression, witch mask I totally lost it. I, of course, was kneeling down on the road so as not, you guessed it, pee my pants, laughing hysterically. The lady at the house thought I was totally nuts, to say the least. As I write this, I still break down with hysterical laughter much to my daughter’s dismay.
As I said, Halloween is just as much for adults as kids. Maybe with jello shots, putting bunny ears on your dog, put on a witch hat, own it, let yourself be a kid, and have fun.
As I sit here with my white legs, white arms, white face, white body, white everything looking like a newly plucked chicken, next to my Hispanic granddaughter with beautiful caramel skin. I love caramel skin and in my next life perhaps I will have that gorgeous, flawless skin, caramel in color. But, today I am reflecting back to the days when we actually tried to achieve, and did, but not without a little (a lot) discomfort and pain. Continue reading →
Who the hell invented bras, and who the hell says we have to wear them????
Who likes bras? Well, I don’t know many people, women, who do. On two different occasions, maybe three, I have gone bra shopping with family and friends, spending many, many hours in dressing rooms, thinking that I have found the ONE. Then a couple of days later I returned all them much to the dismay of my helpers. As you will note in some other Sidetracked Sisters’ posts I am not very popular in this department.