I’m Back!

It’s been just about three years since my last post.  Where did they go, and what happened?

We up and moved from Massachusetts to Texas Hill Country, for one.  It was time for me to retire.  I could never have done so had we stayed in the expensive Northeast.  I knew one of my sons was considering re-locating to Austin.  My Dad, who lives with me, wasn’t getting any younger at age 91.  And neither was I.

So, we took a gamble and moved to Texas.

And here I am, two years after the big move.  Still figuring out this whole new scene. Retirement.  Fitting in to a new culture.  Finding purpose and contributing however I can. Facing new elements of aging I never expected back when I was younger and immortal…or so, I thought.

Please inspire with me with your comments so I will get back to writing again.

Yours in aging with class,


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One Month So Far “Off” Sugar

So many previous posts bemoaning my sugar addiction.  Particularly ice cream addiction.  So, I decided to carpe diem and stop moaning and wailing. I gave up sugar on April 18.  Or, at least, that was what I thought I was going to do.

The first thing I had for dinner that day was organic salsa on a veggie omelet.  And then, I read the ingredients, which indicated there was sugar in the salsa.

Hidden sugars – oops…

In no time, I had a craving for fresh orange juice and drank copious amounts every day, only to realize that oranges contain sugar, and I was consuming lots of it.

Natural sugars in foods but sugar nonetheless – oops…again…

I craved potato chips and nibbled on Cape Cod chips.  I also craved bread and began eating at least four slices of Ezekiel Sesame Bread a day.  The nutrition facts and list of ingredients didn’t include sugar.  Yet, on the one hand, a friend pointed out that sugar is needed to activate the yeast.  And on the other, this article says the opposite.

As if this weren’t enough, we know that carbs convert to sugar in the body, as so clearly explained in a post about carbohydrates and blood sugar from the Harvard School of Public Health.


Another friend asked what my plan for giving up sugar would be.  I told her I was going to have to make it up as I went along.  Little did I know how true a statement this would be.

OK, so, I started with cutting out obvious sweets such as cookies and ice cream.

My Nemesis (photo from partymom.ca)

My nemesis (photo from partymom.ca)

I accepted the above initial cravings because, at least, I had quit obvious (to me) sweets cold turkey.

Within a month, the cravings for chips, bread, and fresh orange juice is no longer.

During the first few weeks, I transformed from a person paralyzed amongst the clutter in my condo to a bolt of energy — in three days, cleaning out so much junk, I couldn’t believe it.

I wondered, “Was there a connection between my new-found energy/motivation and eliminating so much sugar from my diet?”

I used to have a voracious appetite, and I’ve been noticing that this isn’t the case any longer.  My appetite has become more normal, naturally, and I’ve lost a couple of pounds without having to deprive myself and feel hungry.

I’ve reset my palate so I no longer crave sugar.  I enjoy cooking new recipes with real food, eliminating processed foods and including as much organic as possible.  I’m even starting to be interested in eating foods I had never bothered with, such as apples.

I actually have more energy.

What follows is material I read during my first month “off” sugar.  I hope you’ll find them as informative as I have.

References for the Month:

  • Pure White Deadly







Yours in aging with class,

P.S.  Next month, I’ll clarify my giving-up-sugar plan, including situations that may require flexibility.  Stay tuned.

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“Try to be a Rainbow in Someone’s Cloud.”

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou…RIP…

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Yours in aging with class,

(Photo credit:  eurweb.com)
(Link is from CNNU.S. and written by Todd Leopold, Ashley Fanz, and Faith Karimi.)
(Quotes are Maya Angelou’s.)

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Grandparenting 101, cont.

Day One (Friday, May 9)

A four-hour drive to Brooklyn that included a 10-mile backup in CT on Rte. 95 to visit son, Koji, Maiga (my DIL), and grandson, Sean, now 16 months old already.  After a Mother’s Day lunch, we took Sean to the park so he could run off some steam.  And me, too.

Après naps, off to an indoor playground before meeting Dad at the commuter ferry.  Here’s a photo of me cramping Sean’s style.  (Don’t forget to click on photos for the full effect.)

Sean and me (alias "Gummy") at the indoor playground

Sean and me (alias “Gummy”) at the indoor playground

On the way home, Koji took us out for a lovely Mother’s Day dinner!  🙂







Day Two (Saturday, May 10)

Koji and Sean - breakfast time

Koji and Sean – breakfast time

I left Brooklyn after breakfast, and what do you know…someone had stolen the GPS out of my car…with no trace of a break-in. Luckily I know the way and made it to Long Island easily to visit my other two grandchildren, Max (age 5) and Zoe (2 1/2).

I took care of the chicklets while their Mom (Nicole) was off doing volunteer work, literally helping to build a playground.  The kids and I first played in the back yard while I pushed them on the swing.  Zoe laughed and laughed when I pulled her legs and let her go.

We discovered huge puddles of water left over from a recent rain storm on a walk around the block.  Zoe started to step in them gingerly.  It wasn’t too long before both kids were running and splashing through the water, saturating their shoes and Max, his pant legs.  In no time, shoes discarded, they were running barefoot through the puddles.  After repeated invitations, I joined in.

When it came time to walk home, we started out sans shoes.  The kids’ feet were so tender, they ended up putting their shoes back on.  I told them about how I used to run around in bare feet when I was a kid all summer, which toughened them up.  They were mildly impressed that I could walk home without shoes.

After lunch, Zoe napped, and Max and I opened his birthday presents together.  (He turns 5 on Monday.)  Before opening them, he said he hoped they wouldn’t be boring.  (He cracks me up.)

One was a build-your-own bird house, which we did.  Except Max didn’t want me to put glue on the nails before pounding them in.  “No glue,” he said.  He was adamant.  So, I left the almost-finished project for his Mom or Dad to add the glue later, otherwise it won’t be sturdy enough.  I hope they finish it and put it outside and that some day the kids can enjoy watching a little bird move in.

Another was a scratch art set, which he had already played with at his other Grandma’s; but, luckily, he was fascinated with it.  We hung each design on various windows throughout the house, and they looked so decorative with the sun shining through.

Phooey, I wish I had taken photos of the finished projects.

Since I only see the kids every 6-8 weeks, I can particularly notice changes as they are growing up.  On this visit, Max used the word “basically” in just about every sentence; I melt when this precious, munchkin expresses himself in such grown-up words.

I sleep with Max when I visit.  I love talking with him as we fall asleep together.  I also love watching him wake up.  He waits quietly for me at the top of the stairs in the darkness of the 6 a.m. morning while I get dressed, and we walk downstairs together.  We then sit in silence on the couch with my arm around him, as he wakes up slowly.

Day Three:  (Sunday, May 11, Mother’s Day)

When I fixed my morning coffee, I noticed ants all over the kitchen counter.  As if this weren’t enough, Max’s cup leaked a strawberry-milk circle the size of a basketball on the living room couch.

The kids were painting and playing so nicely after breakfast while I finished making them Rapunzel-inspired wigs out of yarn.  Nicole (their Mom) came down and was horrified to discover that Max was playing with an ant cup in his paint water.  And here I thought I had been constantly checking on what they were up to.  (Would I be fired as a babysitter?)

(The day before, Zoe had spilled milk on the cable box, and so the TV didn’t work.  Actually, I enjoyed the kids more without it.  Please note that this particular debacle wasn’t under my watch.)   😉

We made plans for the day.  I waited until Nicole had finished her coffee before mentioning that there were ants all over the kitchen counter.

“Happy Mother’s Day!” I said.

It took some extra time for her to deal with this situation before we left for our outing. (BTW, the ants were gone upon our return.  Max commented that his Mom was a genius when it came to getting rid of them.)

Our outing for the day was a trip to a local farm.  The kids happily checked out the chickens.  Zoe was disappointed she wasn’t allowed to climb over the fenced-in area to join them.

Max and Zoe at the farm playground

Max and Zoe at the farm playground

Painting at the farm

Painting at the farm


Max prefers wearing his shirts backwards.











The kids were their usual active selves as we tried to savor Mother’s Day lobster sandwiches (mac & cheese for the kids) at a nearby Panera for lunch.  When we finished, I asked Nicole if she was able to taste her food.

Later in the afternoon, Nicole went shopping for Max’s upcoming birthday party.  I stayed home with the kids while they played with their Rapunzel wigs.  (Originally, I was only going to make one just for Zoe, but Nicole said that if Zoe liked hers, Max would want one, too.)  I had hoped to get a photo of both of them all dressed up together, but, alas, Zoe would have no part of that.  Max sensed how upset I was that my photo shoot plans were thwarted and tried to comfort me.  I told him not to worry and that all was well.


Zoe likes her Rapunzel wig.

Zoe likes her Rapunzel wig.

Max's wig has more masculine colors...

Max’s wig has more masculine colors…










Nicole came home to Max and Zoe eating dinner to music blaring from a CD I brought with me, Laurie Berkner’s, Whaddaya Think of That.  Zoe was transfixed.  I wish I had taken a photo of the expression on her face as she sat for an hour and a half, requesting certain songs over and over.  She even started to pick up the lyrics.  I hadn’t realized she was so passionate over music.  We made a new connection.

Nicole cooked a delectable lima bean/brown rice dish full of veggies for dinner.  Seasoned perfectly.  Another one of her pressure cooker masterpieces.  She bought me the book, Pressure Perfect, by Lorna Sass for Mother’s Day.  Yes!

Monday, May 11

Time to drive home after breakfast.  The kids were asking when I was coming again.  I told Max that he was invited to visit me any time.  He told his parents, “Grandmummy said we can visit her any time.  She welcomed us!”

It was such a delight crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge in gridlock traffic because the Whitestone was closed from a truck fire.  It was also a delight buying a Dunkin’ Donuts ice coffee (which was DELICIOSO) at a road stop and for the first time in my life, benefiting from a senior discount the cashier gave me, without my even asking for it.

I came home to a Mother’s Day plant of pink roses from Koji that now sits out on my deck and are enjoyed by us all when we are relaxing in the living room.  It’s awfully quiet back home, though…

Yours in aging with class,
Jane (alias “Gummy“)

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Book of the Month: “Crossing to Safety” by Wallace Stegner

A beautifully-written book in all aspects.  Here are a couple of my favorite passages:

“Seen in geological perspective, we are fossils in the making, to be buried and eventually exposed again for the puzzlement of creatures of later eras.  Seen in either geological or biological terms, we don’t warrant attention as individuals.  One of us doesn’t differ that much from another, each generation repeats its parents, the works we build to outlast us are not much more enduring than anthills, and much less so than coral reefs.  Here everything returns upon itself, repeats and renews itself, and present can hardly be told from past.” (p. 4)

“Long-continued disability makes some people saintly, some self-pitying, some bitter.  It has only clarified Sally and made her more herself.” (p. 8)

Yours in aging with class,

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Thought for the Day

Patricia Polacco's photo.

Yours in aging with class,

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Visiting the Old Folk

Four Generations

Four Generations – with my son and father… Grandson, Sean, is one yrs old.







Sean and Great-Grandpa... playing in the apple orchard

Sean Eliot (Great-Grandpa’s namesake) and Great-Grandpa playing in the apple orchard


Little treasures come to visit,
Four and two and one.
Energy abounding constant,
Forts to build, such fun!

Max had to wear my jacket to walk the dogs early in the morning.  His clothes were in the bedroom with his sister, still sleeping.

Max (age 4) had to wear my jacket to walk the dogs early in the morning because his clothes were in the bedroom with his sister, still sleeping.











Dyeing colored eggs for Easter
Yello, red, and brown.
Baskets full of candied chocolate,
Hunting all around.

Zoe (age 2) and Daddy, my son

Zoe (age 2) and her Daddy, my son

Zoe and Max (age 4) eating Easter candy.  Our puppies looking on.

Zoe and Max eating Easter candy. Our puppies looking on.









Sean and his Mom (my DIL)

Sean and his Mom (my DIL)

My son, Grandkids, DIL, and Dad

My son, Grandkids, DIL, and Dad


Weekend over rapidly,
All packed up and gone.
Quiet house is deafening,
Sadness lingers on.

Back to former work and life,
Routine settles in.
Cleaning up the odds and ends, but
Remnants found within.

Where’s the doorstop to our room?
Clay smushed on the floor.
Happy memories abound,
Smiling evermore…

Yours in aging with class,







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