Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘Aging’

Grow a Backbone

In Humor on June 18, 2017 at 2:25 am

With all of the innovations in the plastic surgery arena, you’d think someone would have invented a spine extender.

I know spine surgery is tricky, but if surgeons can cut into your brain with no ill effects, why can’t plastic surgeons add a piece of PVC pipe to your spine for added height, or even higher up for a swanlike neck? Nowadays, every part of the human body can be enlarged, lifted, smoothed, or improved upon, so what’s holding up advances in the height department?

Because cosmetic surgery doesn’t qualify for reimbursement under my health insurance, I’ve had to forgo lifts of my face, neck, knees, and glutes, but this operation might possibly be considered necessary for one’s health.

I recently read that a 5’9″ male is considered to be overweight at 202 pounds, but obese at 203 pounds. One pound changes his status from needing to lose a little weight to needing gastric bypass surgery. If that same man’s height were increased by one or two inches, he wouldn’t be close to being obese. He might not even be all that much overweight.

A rule of thumb for weight is that a man gets to weigh six pounds for each inch he is over five feet, plus 100 pounds. A woman gets five pounds for each inch over five feet, plus 100 pounds.

Up until middle age, I was 5’7-1/2″ inches tall. That meant that my ideal weight was 137.5 pounds, which was right on the nose. I weighed 138 pounds for years and looked fine to me. I could even get up to 144 pounds before I began to worry or take action. Then middle age hit me on the head, squishing me down to 5’6″ almost overnight. My new height changed my ideal weight to 130 pounds. I went from fairly slim and tall to chunky and medium height. I know for a fact that gravity hit me with a hammer from above, because my rib cage collapsed onto itself and the weight that had been evenly distributed there came crashing down and settled around my middle, like a little kid’s swim bubble. swim ring

After months of denying the existence of my new spare tire, I eventually had to face the truth the day I was confronted with a three-way mirror in a store’s dressing room. After several stunned moments of staring at my reflection, I reached up to get a dress that I had hung on a high hook. That’s when I discovered that when I stretched, the weight disappeared. It was gone, just like that. But, the catch was that if I wanted the extra weight to disappear permanently, I’d have to walk around with my arms extended to the heavens for the rest of my life, or lose the weight and exercise.

Then one day I got an email from a company that offered to extend a body part that I wasn’t born with. That was my Eureka moment. If they could extend that, why couldn’t they extend my spine, and my neck, while they were at it?

Unfortunately, I’m a big-picture person and don’t bother with details anymore. (I gave that up in my forties.) So, if anyone wants to take this idea and run with it, knock yourself out. All I ask is that I get free spine and neck extensions once the process is perfected. Or, that you figure out how to get the procedures approved under my health insurance.

 

Advertisements

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

In Aging on January 27, 2017 at 10:40 pm

I went to see an ear-nose-and-throat doctor today regarding my chronic sinus pain.

While I was at the reception desk, the woman checking me in, Mary, told me that I had an outstanding balance of $15.

“How can that be?” I asked. “I’ve never been here before.”

She looked at me in confusion. “Yes you were,” she said. “On December 5.”

“No,” I said. “I had an appointment, but when I called I was told it was canceled.”

We appeared to be at an impasse. “Oh, just go ahead and add it to today’s bill, and we can figure this out later,” I said.

Mary shook her head and ran my flexible-spending-account card through her credit card machine.

While she was busy, a doctor walked into the office and stood behind Mary. He looked familiar. Very familiar. Had I seen him on television?

Then I looked around the office. It seemed to me that I had seen the same coffee machine and basket of complimentary snacks before. That’s when it hit me.

“I have been here before!” I said. Mary looked up from her work with a wary smile. “This appointment is to review the results of the CAT scan I had!” I said. “It’s been so long since my last appointment that I forgot all about it.”

Mary glanced gratefully at the glass separating her from me and nodded.

“Sorry,” I said. “My Alzheimer’s is acting up.” She laughed, in a we’ve-all-been-there-before kind of way. But it wasn’t sincere. I have a feeling she talked about me after I left.

There’s something about doctors that brings out the crazy in me. It has the same effect on one of my sisters.

She recently went to the doctor and told him she suspected that she had a tapeworm. She said the doctor looked very nervous and asked her, “How do you think you contracted it?” He then headed to the sink to thoroughly wash his hands.

Somehow they determined that she did not have a tapeworm, so she broached her next concern. “Could I have an X-ray for lung cancer?” she asked him. When he ascertained that she didn’t have any symptoms that would call for such an X-ray, he suggested that perhaps she should go home and lie down.

As she was leaving, he asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”

“No!” my sister exclaimed. “I’m happily married.”

“I was talking about a psychiatrist,” the doctor responded.

doctors-office

Mother Nature Stole My Identity

In Aging, Humor on October 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Three things used to be as certain about me, as death and taxes are about life: I was 5’7-1/2, I had good legs, and I was a redhead.

Now, I am 5’6″ and my thighs hang over droopy knees. The height and leg thing happened a few years ago so, while I’m not happy about it, I’m learning to coexist with my new reality. At least I’m still a redhead, I told myself.

It turns out I was fooling myself.

Last weekend, I attended a pasta dinner, hosted by our state senator and his wife, at the local American Legion hall. I was seated with friends of mine. The mayor and his wife dropped into the hall for an hour or so to greet the voters. When the mayor got to our table, one of my friends asked him if he was happy about the referendum on this year’s ballot regarding extending the mayoral term from two years to four years.

He said that its approval was critical (politicians love the words “critical” and “efficacious”), because two years is not enough time to get anything accomplished. He said that his Republican predecessor appointed people to “very important commissions” right before he was voted out of office, and the terms for those commissions are for five years. Therefore, our Democratic mayor said, those appointees obstruct him at every turn. However, if he were elected to two four-year terms, he’d be able to get things done.

I jumped in and asked if it were possible to get the law changed so that they were appointed for four years.

He looked at me for a beat and then said, very slowly, “Mayors aren’t appointed. Citizens vote for their mayors.”

I bit back my reflexive retort of “No sh*t, Sherlock,” tried to rearrange my facial expression into a pleasant one, and replied very slowly, “I know that, Mr. Mayor. I was talking about the terms of the people appointed to the very important commissions.”

He laughed uncomfortably. “Oh, I apologize. I misunderstood.”

“Well,” I said, “I’m glad we straightened that out. I’d hate for you to tell people about the redheaded moron you met tonight.”

“You’re not a redhead,” said one of my friends. Everyone at the table agreed with her.

“I am so a redhead!” I exclaimed. “I’ve been a redhead all of my life. It’s who I am.” The mayor and his wife took this opportunity to make a hasty getaway.

“Maybe you were a redhead, but you’re not now,” said another friend. “You’re a blonde.”

I was speechless. My final identifier had been ripped away in an instant.

The husband of one of my friends piped up. “She doesn’t want to be a blonde because of the dumb-blonde jokes.”

“Like the one about the dumb blonde who didn’t know that mayors were elected?” another friend remarked.

Everybody laughed. I seethed.

patsy

2014

patsy-1988-1

1988  courtesy of Susan Dmuchowski Meyerowich

 

 

Not-So-Fun-House Mirror

In Humor on October 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm

The other day, I looked in the mirror and saw my mother’s face. My mother has a lovely face, but I was supposed to be looking at my face, not hers.

I turned around, hoping that she was standing behind me and that I was invisible. That would explain why I saw one face and it was hers. However, nobody was there. I had to acknowledge that I officially looked like my mother.

I am 56. She is 82.  At this rate, in a few years I’ll be able to show her what she’ll look like at 100.

 

 

The Cost of Beauty

In Aging, Humor on August 25, 2016 at 11:50 pm

I just got a facelift kit in the mail. I ordered it a few days ago. It consists of rubber bands and adhesive tape. All for the low, low price of $16.95.

I’m sure I’m going to look fabulous at a family wedding next month … as long as I stay away from strong breezes that lift my hair and expose the tape behind my ears and the band around my head.

Maybe I’ll order a hat, too.

The Long, Winding Path to Self-Realization

In Humor, yoga on April 30, 2016 at 5:41 pm

The phone rang and my husband called up the steps, “Pick up. It’s for you.”

“Who is it?” I asked.

“Yogi Thomas.”

As I walked to the phone, my thoughts raced: Did he know that I was in the middle of writing a blog post about him? Was he going to ask me why I ran out of his two-hour yoga session, only half-an-hour into it? Was I in trouble with the local, and worldwide, yoga community? Was I a yoga pariah?

“Hi, Yogi Thomas,” I said in my most airy voice.

“Hello, Patricia,” Yogi Thomas responded. “Why did you leave this morning?”

“I’m sorry, ” I said, “but those other students were very advanced, and I was in way over my head.”

“But that’s why I asked that man to move his mat, and I moved you to his place next to me, so that I could keep you safe,” he said.

“Thank you for that,” I said, “but I was embarrassed that you were going to be supervising me and taking up the time of the people who knew how to do the poses and the breathing exercises. I didn’t want to be the focus of your attention.”

“Let me tell you something, Patricia,” Yogi Thomas said, “Most of these students have had hundreds of hours of yoga instruction and practice, but every one of them was a beginner at one time. They all have compassion for those who are just starting.”

To myself, I had to acknowledge that I was “just starting,” compared to them, but I have been to a number of yoga classes before, including one that Yogi Thomas had held at our church. I’ve been in rooms with young people, middle-aged people, and even older people. But those were big rooms, and when I looked like an idiot, there were others who looked more incompetent than I did. During those classes, I had always congratulated myself that I wasn’t yet at the stage when I’d have to ask for a pose adjustment for my neck pain, back pain, knee replacement, scoliosis, or even fibromyalgia, like some of the other students. While far from being proficient, I had never felt like an outcast in those low-stress classes. There were always people who were worse than I was. However, this morning, in his private studio, I was the lone, inexperienced soul, among experienced, graceful, and dedicated yoga practitioners.

This morning’s class was in Yogi Thomas’s home studio. He is a professional yoga instructor and his classes are usually very expensive. However, as a gift to the area, he organized a special morning class at a very affordable price, and he sent out Facebook invitations:

Spend two hours this Saturday, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., with Yogi Thomas who has devoted 15 years of his life to understanding, practicing and teaching the traditional yoga received from his teacher Sri Dharma Mxxxx. This Workshop offers: Yoga Postures, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, Meditation and Spiritual Knowledge.

Dharma Yoga Maha Sadhana is appropriate for All Levels and is of special benefit to those with some yoga experience and yoga teachers who share this special knowledge with others.

 

I couldn’t resist an offer to be trained by a real yogi in a studio that wasn’t in a church basement or a YMCA. They were even doing chanting and there was going to be a drummer. And, the invitation said that all I needed was some yoga experience to benefit from the class. I immediately signed up and, since I usually sleep until noon on Saturdays, that showed how much I wanted to do this.

But, once I was there, it was apparent that I was out of my league … or any league, anywhere. I couldn’t get the introductory breathing exercises right. And when he said to extend the thumb and ring finger on our right hand so we could open our chakras for our meditation, I even got that wrong. By the time we were actually assuming asanas, or poses, I spent most of my time on my asana, after toppling over.

Yogi Thomas took pity on me at this point and moved me next to him. I suppose the looks I was getting from the other students were compassionate, but they felt pitying. I was dreading the point when the looks would turn to disgust. (I later learned that disgust doesn’t have a place in yoga. Nor does self-congratulation. Yoga people are on a path to self-realization, and nobody wants to to come to the realization that he or she is a pitier or a braggart.)

So, I ignominiously moved my mat to the corner of the dark studio, to the gentle accompaniment of drumming, and mystical musical. I had no sooner settled back on my mat, when Yogi Thomas whispered to me, “Whenever you can’t do something, just assume this pose.” He was on his knees and he bent his torso and head forward over his knees.

“The child pose?” I asked?

“Exactly,” he said. “You can stay in that pose for the rest of the class, and just breathe and enjoy the chanting.” He then wandered off to inspect the work of the other students.

In his defense, Yogi Thomas was being sweet, and considerate, and not at all pitying. However, I was appalled. But, I took a deep, cleansing breath, attempted the pose that was being assumed all over the room — holding my entire body weight on one arm while twisted to the right — and  fell on my face. Before too many people could show compassion, I assumed the child pose.

Too soon, he reappeared and started stacking mat upon mat upon mat next to me. He then soothingly announced to the class, “You all know how to do our next pose. Remember that, and breathe … as you do a headstand.” As everyone put their heads on their mats and began to slowly extend their legs over their heads, I stared in fear, amazement, and horror.

Yogi Thomas turned to me and pointed at the huge stack of mats on the floor next to me. “They’re for you,” he said. “I’ll keep you safe while you stand on your head.” All I could think was that if I wasn’t able to get the correct fingers extended to open my chakras, how was I going to turn myself upside down without breaking my neck? I looked at him to see if he was mocking me. I should have known that mocking isn’t on the path to self-realization, either. He gave me a kind look and said, “Let’s start.”

My stomach began to churn and my head began to pound. I bent over and began to roll up my mat. “I’m sorry, Yogi Thomas, but I really have to go.” I gathered my things and made my way to the door.

Yogi Thomas looked distressed. “You can do this,” he said.

“No, I really can’t,” I said.

“Okay,” he said, “but let me make your exit safe.” There was a woman standing on her head by the door, and he went over to her and held her legs steady as I opened the door and hurried out.

I put my flip-flops on outside and raced to my car. When I got home, I went back to bed and dreamed about a woman I don’t like, and haven’t seen in years, who inexplicably had become a yogi herself and suggested that I practice on a child’s sliding board.

When I finally awoke, I assembled a carrot cake to take to our friends’ house tonight. We’re going to play board games and charades. I had no apprehension about tonight, because I have no qualms about looking inadequate in front of friends, probably due to lots of past experience.

Once the cake was in the oven, I decided to blog about this morning. The tone of the blog post was quite different from how it is now. It was riddled with self-defense and distrust of yoga aficionados, which would have set me back a lifetime or two if I had published it.

As fate would have it, the phone rang and Yogi Thomas offered me reassurance and a free session at his “more gentle” yoga class on Thursdays. He couldn’t have been nicer or more sincere. I apologized for leaving his class and expressed the hope that I hadn’t humiliated him. He assured me that he had walked out of many yoga classes in his life, when they were too much for him or if he wasn’t in the mood. I doubt this, but I appreciated his saying it. He even said, “God bless,” before he hung up.

After our conversation, I sat down and did deep yoga breathing. I thought over this morning’s experience and accepted that nobody was judging me and that there was no room for self-pity or feelings of inadequacy on my journey toward self-realization. I am calm.

Oh for crying out loud, what is that smell? The freaking cake is burning!

 

Tuesday Now Beats Monday for the Worst Day of the Week

In Aging, Humor on March 31, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I piled my purchases onto the counter at Walgreens. The female Indian cashier looked at me and sweetly said, in halting English, “I am embarrassed to ask you this, but are you 55?”

My stomach sunk to the floor. Because she was so nice, I moderated my tone when I answered, “Why? Do I look 55?”

“I am asking,” she answered, “because Tuesday is Senior Citizen Day and everyone 55 and over gets 10% off their purchases.” Without answering my question directly, she did answer it, which made my stomach sink even lower.

“No, I’m not 55!” I responded. She looked vaguely embarrassed, but not by much. She obviously thought that I was lying.

“I’m not going to be 55 for another …” I stopped to calculate.  “… 22 days,” I announced.

She smiled knowingly. Looking back, I’m certain that she was thinking, “Another 22 days, give or take …”

“Thank you,” she said. “Then, your total is $31.29.”

“Here you go,” I said, handing her the money. “And thanks for ruining my evening.”

She smiled and said, “You’re welcome. And be well.”

What Should I Do?

In Ethics, Humor, Poll on September 11, 2013 at 11:12 pm

mini water pistols from Veronica September 2013The other day, I was talking to one of my sisters about an argument I was involved in at a recent family gathering.

I told her that I had totally lost my cool when a relative said something that I disagreed with. The result was a very loud yelling match.

This doesn’t happen often with me, and not in years. I usually suppress my anger and then vent all over my husband when we get home.

Lately, I’ve been venting all over whomever is annoying me.

My sister said that this was not acceptable behavior, unless it was happening because I’m getting older.

“You know how some older people have no filters?” she asked. “They say whatever comes into their heads no matter whom they offend. Maybe that’s happening to you.”

“I’m 53 years old,” I answered. “I’m not even eligible to apply for that license for another 27 years.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she said. “Well, I think you’d better find another way to deal with your temper. Why don’t you buy a mini water pistol and keep it in your purse? Then, when someone makes you angry, you can just whip it out and squirt him or her with water.”

“I imagine that would make the situation even worse,” I said.

“Nah,” she replied. “Do it when nobody’s looking and then deny any knowledge of what happened.”

“Yeah, that’s a great plan,” I said.

“How many handbags do you own?” she asked.

“Four everyday ones and three evening bags,” I said. “Why?”

“I think that you should get one for every bag you have, just so that you’re always prepared,” she answered.

After a good laugh, we moved on to other topics.

Two days later, I received a package. Inside the box were 12 colorful mini water pistols.

My husband asked what I was going to do with a dozen water pistols. I told him my sister’s idea. He shook his head and walked away, never suspecting that I might actually take her suggestion seriously.

I am now faced with an ethical question … would it be wrong …

… to buy five more handbags to accommodate the five extra water pistols?

Facebook’s Dark Side

In Facebook, Humor on March 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I love Facebook … just like millions of other middle-aged parents with kids who wish there was an app that prevented Facebook access to anyone over 30.

Things don’t change. I remember when I was a kid in the 1960s and the hippies all said that nobody over thirty could be trusted. My mother and father, who weren’t yet forty, said that the hippies would all eventually join the establishment that they purported to hate. At my young age, I couldn’t believe that the hippies would ever stop wearing hipsters, bellbottoms, crocheted or fringed vests, beaded headbands and belts, peace signs, and halter tops. My whole world revolved around their fashion statements. If they gave in, moved off their communes, and started wearing suits to their corporate jobs, then what was the point of their movement? As an adult, I see that their movement influenced much more than fashion. However, I will never get over my love of crocheted granny-square vests, handbags, and afghans.

But, back to Facebook. I understand why kids don’t want their parents to read their ungrammatical, misspelled, deepest, most outermost thoughts. I get it. After a couple of months of reading the posts of my nieces and nephews, I didn’t want to be privy to their musings anyway. And, the extra letters at the end of the last words in each sentence annoyed the hell out of meeeeee.

But what really shocked me was seeing  pictures of people I hadn’t seen in twenty or thirty years. They looked like their parents looked when we were younger. To not see somebody for almost three decades and then see their current picture is mindboggling. How did we become our parents? Every time I get a friend request from someone from my youth who just discovered Facebook, I’m torn. I want to hear from them, but do I want to see them? It’s downright disheartening.

I have a son who is a senior in high school. Some of my Facebook friends from high school have grandchildren. None of my friends in my real life have grandchildren yet and I like it that way. I want to be at the same stage of life as my friends. But Facebook has taken away any sense of continuity or proportion. Now I am forced to realize that I am old enough to be a grandmother. No wonder we look like our parents looked. People who see you every day don’t notice your daily decline. However, people who haven’t seen you in thirty years can now be heard shrieking, “Holy Crap, what the hell happened to her?”

I guess once you get used to looking at your parents’ generation posing as your generation, you can move forward and appreciate your online friendships without obsessing about the ravages of time. It gets easier, I suppose … eventuallyyyyyy.

 

Check out what indie authors have to offer at www.spbroundup.com.

Dispatches from the Asylum

“The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” ― Douglas Adams

Chomp Chomp

Food & Dining

I.A.

Cooking and More

Tripambitions

It contains the world best places and things.

Conundrum.

dabbles in writing, loves music and nature. Sierra Leonean

Amber & Corde

A journey of expanding my dog's world

Little Fears

Tales of whimsy, humor and courgettes

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

debiboc

This WordPress.com site a journey through 2014 - Body and Soul

Leonard's Lines

A world without humor just isn't funny.

rachelmankowitz

The Cricket Pages

Ben's Bitter Blog

"We make bitter better."

saneteachers

What they never taught me in teacher school.

SERENDIPITY

Searching for intelligent life on earth

ANIKET SHARMA PHOTOGRAPHY

World through my lens

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Arts + Cooking + Dancing + Joy + Writing + Tales + Tails

Sableyes

Sabbles woz 'ere

Life In Our Little LA Garden

Spending time in our urban oasis planting seeds and talking about it

Waking Muses

A Creative Writing Project

The Shameful Sheep

shit storms, shame, and stories that make you cringe

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Mara Eastern

I hope to be hysterically hilarious. But maybe I'm just hysterical.

razorbackwriteraus

In the sea of dreams.

Bluestem Pond

Diary of the creation of Bluestem Pond Farm

pieofthebeholder

52 weeks. 52 pies.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

New York Sports Roundup

A fine WordPress.com site

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Nailsbails

A little about everything, a lot about nothing.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.