I decided to make potato soup.

I had so many leftover red potatoes from a big bag that we had bought and they were starting to look — old.  I had to use them for something.  The skins were drying out and some of them were starting to grow roots.  Ugghh!

Most of the potatoes were small and had to be peeled.  And I have small hands so it made it a little hard to do.

As I was peeling the potatoes, a thought came to me.

Here I am trying to use potatoes that would probably have been thrown out by someone else.  Thought of as useless, the trash would have taken them away easily.

Isn’t that how it is sometimes when people get older?

We think they don’t have anything of value left in them because they look old and wrinkly.  Yet when you peel away the outer skin of their humanity, inside is a beautiful human being.  All polished and ready to talk and share and do whatever they can do for you.

Yes, they are sometimes hard to work with because they are, as some say, “set in their ways.”  And people will toss them away because of that, not wanting to peel away their outer being.  It does take time.

But the beauty that can be found inside is worth every minute of patience and time that it takes.

I have found on so many occasions that just because the body is aging on the outside does not mean that the emotions on the inside have also aged.  They are still vibrant in their thinking and would also be so in their life if given a chance.

They’re just waiting for someone to come and peel them.

Here are faces of some potatoes I know who have been peeled and found to be beautiful.

Funny, that’s how Jesus views us.  Looking past the outer skin, he takes our hand and sees the beauty that lies within.
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The Past

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  George Santayana, from The Life of Reason, Vol 1, 1905

Reading the words above make me realize how “not in the past” I am living.  Even though it is good to remember our past, we need to make sure not to repeat the wrong decisions we made.  We all have growth as we get older.

And older I am.  I still have spontaneous moments when I want to dance in the rain, scream at the top of my lungs and roll down a hill (hopefully missing any dog poop on the way down).  laughs

“They” say, and I’m not sure who they are, that people get stuck at a certain age.  It matters not how many years old they are.  What matters is what age their brain gets stuck at.

I’m still stuck somewhere in my 20’s.  Maturity at age 25.  Seems like an oxymoron.  Not too many people are mature at that age.  They are still searching for themselves (as are some people at 50).

Yet, the body knows it’s not 25 and so there are limits to what one can do in spite of what one may want to do.  Still, being older and having a youthful mind is not so bad.


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Life is so unpredictable.

I’m sitting here in Woodbury, Minnesota.  It still seems surreal to me that I am not in the house I raised my children in.  Twenty-nine years in one house.  Twenty-nine years of Thanksgivings, Christmases, having friends over for meals.

Looking back I remember good times and bad times.

I look at myself today and wonder who I am.  Many years ago I was so different.  More selfish.  More unsure.  More beautiful on the outside but less on the inside.

Today I don’t view myself as selfish nor unsure.  That’s not to say that I don’t have times when I feel that way.  But overall I’ve grown.

This aging thing does something to a person.  Perhaps the word aging seems like the wrong word for some.  It has connotations of becoming old.

In our society becoming old is not something to look forward to.  Wrinkles, bad breath, eye problems, arthritis, lack of enthusiasm, etc.

But underneath the wrinkled skin there is life.

Even as old wine tastes better with age (so they say) I think people also “taste” better with age.

Granted some people don’t mature properly and “ferment” in ways that are distasteful.

But overall, there is life behind the wrinkled face, the sagging body, the hoarse voice.

I still have a long way to go to truly be unselfish and sure of myself.  But considering everything in my life — not too bad this aging thing.

Bring it on!  I’ll take the beauty on the inside over the outside any day.

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Moving to Minnesota

We have reached “mutual acceptance” in the sale of our house.

The inspection is on Monday so hopefully they don’t find any major things wrong with the house as we are not aware of any.  Just normal things for a hundred year old house.

Today I said goodbye to my 81 year old friend who is in an adult family home.  She didn’t understand but that’s okay.

It made me sad though.

Sad that I had to say goodbye and sad that she didn’t really understand.

Aging can be so sad sometimes.

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Death and Graves

Japan Graves

Made of dust to dust we return.

This is a picture of a graveyard in Japan.

It was amazing to me how the tombstones are so close together.

Were that we as people that close in relationships to each other when we are alive.

What a different world it would be.  Shoulder to shoulder.  Helping each other out in our humanness.

Why Can’t You Read My Mind? Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get in the Way of a Loving Relationship

Chinese Japanese Paper Lantern 16″D Sakura

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How am I supposed to act?

Is there some rule that says that once you enter your 50’s you should act a certain way?

Can I still dance in the rain with no shoes on?

Can I hang out with whoever I want — even if they have a “bad” reputation?

Can I wear mini skirts or tops that show cleavage?

Can I jump into a lake with all my clothes on because it’s hot outside?

Can I turn the radio on full blast and dance to salsa music?

Will people view me as insane because I act youthful when I’m old, uh, older?

Do I really care?

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Aging, Funeral

Attended another funeral this weekend.

My friend was 87 years old and died of cancer.

I found out so much about him during the funeral service.  I guess that’s what happens when you put total strangers in a room who know the same person.  They all have different stories, different views of the person and their character.

I can’t forget what one person said: “I know the person he is today, not the one from the past.”

I can say the same thing.

He was a gentle, loving, giving person and had a great sense of humor.

But that was not how he started his life.  He abandoned his children from his first? or second marriage.

Only in the past year had he contacted his son, now in his 50’s, to ask for forgiveness and to reconcile with him.

His grandson, who he never met, was a minister and gave the eulogy.

His adopted daughter spoke of how he was a tyrant while she was growing up.  Never had I seen that in his personality.  Only gentleness.

In the Christian world we would call the change in his life a transformation.  And indeed, he had Christlike qualities that one wanted to emulate.

I hadn’t spoken to him in over 2 years but he was one of those people who when you saw him it was as if no time had passed.

Goodbye my friend.  I’ll see you in heaven.

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Anesthesia and Peace

I recently had the experience of getting general anesthesia. Prepped, rolled into the operating room and having a mask attached over my face.

Next thing I know, I’m waking up.  I look around.  I see a man cleaning up and taking things off a table where someone else once lay.  He puts the things in a plastic container.

I look to my right — another person who just woke up from their anesthesia.

What happened to the 45 minutes that passed?  No dreams.  Nothing.  Emptiness.

Can one call this peace if one can’t experience it?

Dictionary.com uses one definition of peace:  freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety.

A second definition:  a state of tranquility.

But if you don’t feel tranquil or free from annoyance are you truly at peace?

Lost are the 45 minutes of nothingness.  And they can’t be recovered.

Such is life as it is.  Every moment on this earth can be useful or wasted.

Time is truly fleeting.  Moments become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days, days become weeks and weeks become years.

The “lucky” ones age and die.  And then?

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Advocates for Seniors

When I was younger, I had a boyfriend who had the most wonderful mother.

I kept in touch with her throughout the years. Every time I would visit Chicago she would more than likely get a visit from me.
The last few times I went to see her she was not well. She lives with one of her sons and he was being neglectful of her.
She had a rooster and birds that were allowed to roam freely through the house.
And she was suffering from onset dementia.
She used to have her own room. Now she was sleeping on the living room couch as her son had taken over her bedroom. Never mind that there are 3 bedrooms in the apartment. The other two were filled with junk piled high — clothes and everything else you can think of.
Last time I was there, she was shredding meat by hand in the living room. When the rooster would come over she would put the food down and pet her rooster. Then (without washing her hands) she would go back to preparing the meat.
Her son thought nothing was wrong with this.
The apartment reeked of bird feces as the carpet, walls and couch was filled with the feces.
You’d walk in and pray that you could breathe for more than 5 minutes.
She was now unkempt, smelled of urine and her home was no longer clean like she used to keep it.
Recently another son went to court to get custody of her so that he could make sure she was well taken care of. It was denied.
How heartbreaking this is. To live your life giving to others and then to have it end like this.
She hasn’t passed away yet. I can only hope that she is not able to recognize all that’s going on and that she is in no physical pain.
What a tragedy! We need more advocates for seniors. If I didn’t live so far away …
Life as it unfortunately is …

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Poem on Aging

I hate forwards. Hate them! Hate them! Hate them! Especially ones that say “forward this to 10 people and in 5 minutes” — yeah, right.

Occasionally though I read through one that has some meaning. Such is the one that my sister sent me. I checked to see if the story was true and unfortunately, it’s not.

But that doesn’t take away from the sentiment. It’s called Crabby Old Man.

Supposedly written by a man who was in a nursing home, died and the nurses found this among his belongings. I can’t find who the real author is.

Crabby Old Man

“What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old man, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice the things that you do.
And forever is losing a sock or a shoe?

Who, resisting or not lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding the long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes nurse cause you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another.

A young boy of sixteen with wings on his feet..
Dreaming that soon now a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at twenty my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five, now I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide them and secure a happy home.
A man of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my woman’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more, babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me my wife is now dead.
I look at the future and shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young guy still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years, all too few gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people, open and see.
Not a crabby old man ~ Look closer ~ See ME!!”

(Author Unknown)

When I read this, it spoke to my heart. Most of my friends are “older.” I don’t know how common that is.

But I enjoy sitting with them, talking and spending time with them.

They truly appreciate having my company. Especially the ones who can’t get out of their homes or are in nursing homes or adult family homes.

I find that even if people aren’t elderly, they enjoy knowing that someone cares about them. A card, a call, a smile. It takes so little to make someone’s day.

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