Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Love, Loss and What I Remember

Circa 1994 - Clearly giving Meryl Streep a run for her money.
Way back in the olden days, when I was a single parent and had memory cells in my brain . . . (Hmmm...startling revelation: The disappearance of memory cells began when I was a single parent . . . interesting.)

Where was I? Oh, yes . . . the olden days . . . when we had more remotes than chargers. In an effort to provide more enriching stimulation than the afterschool snack-time fare of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and what I later found out to be the traumatizing family fun time Saturday night viewing of Profiler, I began to audition and be cast in plays with the new community theater group in our small town. The motivation for deciding to involve myself in an activity that would force me out of the house was to provide a strong and culturally competent role model for my children. Because, honestly, if I didn’t feel so pressured to be Super Mom, I would have sat with my kids as much as possible in front of the TV.  Back then it was a time when we were all engaged in the same thing; talking, laughing or evidently cowering, as I found out when I read Christopher’s third-grade year-end “About Me” book. His greatest joy? His greatest fear? The character Jack-of-all-trades from the show I made him sit through every Saturday night at 9pm. I thought staying up with me and Annie was a special treat; turns out I was terrifying him every week. Single parenting decisions: sometimes you nail them, sometimes they go tragically off-the-mark.

Once I had been in a couple of productions, Annie started doing some of the kid’s shows. This meant Christopher had to come along to either hang out backstage or venture onstage as the “Boy” or some other animal or fairy.  (God. This poor kid...what did I do to him??)  Mostly, it was a fun family activity and the only terrifying part was whether or not I’d remember my lines when the curtain went up. The great thing was--I usually did. I might have flubbed a line or two here and there, but as I was told by a friend one night and never forgot--the audience doesn’t have the script. They don’t know when I’ve dropped a line.  And it was community theater, so many of the residents of the community in which I lived were present at our shows. They were too nice to be too critical of my performances . . . you never know when a single mother will burst into tears.

As time went by, the kids got older and soccer and other divergent activities took precedence and I stopped auditioning. It was fine; although I was a drama major in college, I hadn’t really set my sights on a career as a thespian. The dose of acting I got during those wonderful days of rehearsals and productions, Coward and Shakespeare, donated props and expertly created costumes was enough to tide me over. Forever, if you’d asked me then. But apparently, only until now.

Despite the fact that I can barely remember why I open the refrigerator door, each Tuesday and Thursday night until the middle of December, I am going to leave my home and travel to the next town over to rehearse lines for an hour or two. The show is Love, Loss and What I Wore, written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. If you look closely, you can see why I made the insane decision to put myself in what will undoubtedly be at best, a hoot and at worst, a spectacle along the lines of Sally Field’s Oscar acceptance speech. First of all, I don’t have to remember the lines! It’s a staged reading . . . no memorization! Next, it’s by Nora Ephron. She has been an inspiration for my own work for many, many years. When I auditioned, I read the essay, “I Hate My Purse” which I guess was included in the script because Nora wrote it and she could put anything in it she wanted. I wished very hard to get that role; but I didn’t.  Acting in a play by Nora Ephron would be like living a little bit inside her brain and I wanted that experience. And then, if those two little omens weren’t enough, it was being produced in Woodbury, the former small town where I began my illustrious acting career over 20 years ago. How could I say no? Or rather, I hoped I could say yes, providing they offered me a part.

They did. I have a short monologue all my own and I am part of several ensemble pieces; all about women, clothing, humor, love and loss. Being in a play is a little like riding a bike in that once you try it after a long period of time, it feels very familiar. You just have to work out the rusty spots. I am a little nervous, too. I’ve been doing readings and talks since my book has been out, so one might imagine I have some confidence about getting up in front of hundreds of people and hope words come out of my mouth and not, say, spit. I’ll have the script--magnified--in front of me, but I’ll still need my glasses to read it. But I get to read it. It is feeling like an opportunity to try something out, or maybe revisit something I once loved, but had to push aside for other obligations and responsibilities. It is truly both an exciting and terrifying ambition and I can’t wait for opening night.

I hope I remember to show up.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Scents and Sensibility

You know how when things get old, they begin to smell a little? I think that’s starting to happen to me. Don’t worry, I still bathe and buy deodorant, but if I go just one extra day without washing my hair, at some point during the day while getting into my car or throwing my purse over my shoulder at the grocery, I will catch a whiff of that subtle scent; the one that tells you, “you-should-have-definitely-taken-the-time-to-shampoo-this-morning.” I duck and head toward the closest door and hope there is not a cloud swirling about my head a là  Pig Pen in the Peanuts comic strip. The one that makes everyone take a few steps away from you.

Many years ago, one of my girlfriends fixed me up on a date with a man who was about ten years older than me. Going out with an older man didn’t bother me . . . until we sat next to each other all night at a bar. It wasn’t the smoke, or the spilled beer or all the forlorn ladies doused with cheap perfume that got to me. It was this man’s smell. Not bad, not good, just . . . present. A pervasive scent of what I decided was bachelorhood; flannel shirts that needed to be washed more frequently than say, once a month.

It makes sense doesn’t it? At some point it’s not worth washing those bath towels anymore because they’re old and they smell. Off you go to Target for a couple of brand new sets to hang in the bathroom. (We’ll talk about how you don’t walk out of Target with only bath towels another time.) This happens to everything that gets old; clothing, food, furniture, shoes, buildings. Everything that gets old smells. Why not people?

You think I’m trying to be funny, but there is Science to prove it. It seems that the scent of older folks is as tied to our biological origins as the sex drive and the fight or flight reflex. From a study by Johan Lundström of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, humans may be able to recognize age by odor as a way "to distinguish the sick from the healthy—not overt sickness, but underlying cell decay," he says. "The older we get, the more natural decay we have."

See that? He actually said “decay.” Like when you’re walking through the park in October, taking a deep breath and thinking, “Ah, the smell of Fall!” but what you’re really smelling is decay. Those beautiful orange, yellow and red leaves are dying and we can smell it.

We humans don’t have nearly the highly developed nostrils that dogs, horses and other animals have, but we do pick up important information from our noses. Am I right, mothers? Do we know practically to the teaspoon how much beer our kids drank as they propel themselves through the door late on a Friday night? We ground with confidence. But not only mothers; women all over the world use their noses to divine the who, what, how and where of any given excuse. Men do not have this faculty; as soon as you ask, “Can you smell that?”, the male of the species shrugs his shoulders and says, “What rotting bananas?”

It is slightly discouraging to realize that my body, it’s cells and pores could be in a state of decay. But, as I said it makes sense. (Scents?) These days, those of us 50ish and over have the opportunity to be in the best shape of our lives. I had lunch with a sixty-something woman recently who said she felt the best she’s ever felt after using a nutritionist to lose 42 pounds and learn how to drink more water. Another sixty-ish friend sat at my kitchen table and practically glowed from her recent two-week hiking vacation, even though we were Googling our recently prescribed prescriptions. We may be decaying . . . and smelling . . . but we can be healthy and look good doing it. And if I forget to wash my hair one day, I can always go hang out with a bunch of old guys.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Good Shoes

As summer fades slowly into a distant memory, I welcome the days of cooler temperatures and a reason to hibernate with the earlier curfew of shorter days. Some women (not me) get excited about changing their wardrobes over to their Fall/Winter collection and going shopping to add or update accessories. Me? I just pull my black sweater out of the back of the closet and situate it closer to the middle so it’s there if I need it. (Which I never do, because, let’s be honest: what woman over 50 needs a sweater anymore?) No, it’s all pumpkin spice and a reason to stay home that excites me about Fall. Some fear lurks in the coming days, I will admit, and it’s not just the very real danger of buying--and eating--14 bags of Halloween candy before October 31st.  The dread creeping toward me is having to put on real shoes. I am a flip-flop gal. You’d think I might choose to live in Florida or California to accommodate my footwear choices. Since I don’t, there are many reasons I need to acquire regular shoes for certain occasions--like snow. For winter, I have chosen to wear UGG boots--the real thing, not the knock off Faux Uggs (or Fuggs as I used to call them). So, summer footwear-flip-flops. Winter footwear-UGGs. Fall footwear-ugh.

Because I am so clever and know myself so well, I played a trick on myself in order to get out and go to the store for new shoes. I needed a comfortable pair to wear to work or just out; flats (of course), not too dressy, not too casual. The two pairs I have had for about, well, many years, made a whooshing sound as I walked. The sound came from the various splits and worn edges on the bottom--of both pairs! I tricked myself into getting new shoes by throwing both pairs into the garbage on garbage day. This way I couldn’t have second thoughts and dig them out in a panic and I would be forced to go to Marshall’s and buy a pair of good shoes.

Best laid plans, right? What I didn’t factor in to this brilliant plan was that two days later, I had to appear in court. And even though there are a number of simply astonishing clothing and footwear choices people make to appear before a judge, I didn’t think wearing flip-flops to court would be acceptable. I was appearing as a witness, a professional. (Yes, I am a professional who gets away with wearing flip-flops most of the time. Yes, I am lucky.) Fortunately,  I hang on to most every article of clothing that isn't torn in half,  so a pair of those black Eddie Bauer loafers everyone was wearing about 15 years ago is tucked away in my closet. I pulled on black tights, squeezed into the loafers and was presentable for the 10 minutes I needed to be on the witness stand.

I still have a problem, though, don’t I? I have yet to go out and get those shoes for myself. When the immediate crisis was averted, there was no pressure for me to leave my house for the shopping plaza. My daughter went, though. And while there, she sent me this in a text: 

She even offered to bring them home for me to try on. I said no. She said, “Really?” (I could hear the exasperation--even in her text.) She tried, but she knows it will take more than a change in seasons to get me out of my flip-flops. Because it’s not just my preference for showing off my I'm-Not-Really-a-Waitress red painted toes that keeps me from going out and trying on tight, blistering shoes. At some point in my aging, my feet grew. That seems like one of nature’s cruel jokes to me...having your feet get bigger. Like when men get more hair in their ears and on their backs, but lose it on top of their heads. Not funny, nature. So now that I have gargantuan feet, flip-flops suit me. I feel like Cinderella’s evil sister when I try to squeeze my feet into my once comfortable size 8s. “No! Let me try again! I know it will fit!” It's not a pretty sight.

One thing I’ve learned as I age into my 50s and 60s is that comfort is essential. Not just feeling comfortable, but making decisions based on my comfort is a reasonable thing to do. It may mean I have to move to California or Florida. Or southern Italy, but those are decisions I can live with. Meanwhile, I know I will have to go out of my house, go into a store and buy shoes. Size 9 probably. But I’m comfortable with that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rules to live by

I am done for. There I was, minding my own business, walking through the kitchen, when I happened to glance at the newly arrived magazine on the counter. The headline jumped up with its tongue sticking out at me: 8 simple rules to pull together any outfit! There are EIGHT rules to pull an outfit together? EIGHT? How do “8 rules” and “simple” go together in a sentence? I backed slowly away from the kitchen and retreated to my office upstairs where I engaged in the soothing activity I usually pursue when I have been traumatized: Pocket Frogs.

Real Simple is not delivered to me at my house; it’s my daughter’s subscription. (Courtesy of me, however.) The brand should appeal to me--it has the right name, but I’m sorry. If it takes 8 rules just to get dressed in the morning, what can I expect from their recipes? Their decorating tips? Or (shudder) cleaning advice? 10? 15 100?? No thank you. When I see the word simple, I expect simple. Not convoluted in disguise. You want simple rules? Here are some:

Rules for pulling together any outfit: (Notice it is only half as many...)
1.    Never dig anything out of the clothes hamper.
2.    Always give a quick look for wear and tear, specifically, previously missed holes or tears.
3.    Stick with black and white. Sometimes navy blue. Possibly red. Pink is for babies.
4.    Up to the collarbone, below the knees.

Rules for cooking at home:
1.    One pan, one plate (or bowl)
2.    One cooks, the other cleans
3.    Only use foods that are colors and flavors found in the natural world. (And beware of the sneaky, “Natural flavoring” don’t want to know.)
4.    Five ingredients, five steps (including cooking time). Anything else is too risky.

Rules for maintaining a presentable home:
(Notice I didn’t actually use the word “clean”--it’s subjective anyway)
1.    Don’t buy anything “decorative” after the age of 50.
2.    Toss anything decorative that doesn’t clean itself.
3.    Most everything can be cleaned with a bottle of windex and a roll of paper towels.
4.    Entertain in the evening when the sun doesn’t highlight dust. Better yet, entertain in the summer--outside.

Rules for enjoying life after 50:
1.    Spend as much time as possible with your grandchildren. If you don’t have them, find some.
2.    Embrace forgetfulness; you can’t fret about what you can’t remember.
3.    Take a walk every day (or as often as you remember to.) “Walk” can be interchanged with “nap.”
4.    Let go of yesterday, enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow. 

Feel free to adopt or adapt as you see fit. I have a rule about telling other people what to do and that is: I don't.  :)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten years ago...

Ten years ago, around this time of year, I decided that if I wanted anyone else to take me seriously as a writer, I would have to do it first. I set out to write a blog and publish my own work--since no one else was clamoring to do it. It wasn't so much a "blog" as a website upon which I posted weekly (or least monthly) an essay about "The world as I see it and make sense of it–or not– as the case may be." That was my clever tagline. Also around this time of year...maybe even today...ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and I found myself writing my first post. It was as difficult to write then as it was to reread it today, but I'm re-posting it as a tribute to that day, that event and the memory of my college roommate Sue. Feel free to let me know what you think and thanks, as always, for your support. 

Miss New Orleans
Friday, September 02, 2005

The funniest things occur to me.
~ Feeling sad for the man who journaled all his life in Gulfport, Mississippi - whose journals just blew away.
~ Wondering how the babies are getting dry diapers.
~ Wondering if, after all these years, the city still looked the same before it was washed away.
~ Is the Morning Call still there?

I don't know how to process this disaster that is Katrina. As I did in September 2001, I watch and watch the TV and the film clips and the faces and the stories until I can't watch anymore. I want to cry, but I am afraid that if I start, I will never stop.

Those little faces. The children who are so sad and hungry and cold and wet. The parents who are helpless to care for them. The people who have been ripped from their families and wander with bloodshot, tear-filled eyes...just looking.

What can a woman in Connecticut do?

I want to offer warm beds, dry clothes, water by the gallons and long, long hot soapy showers and clean fresh towels. And lots of food. It's this emotional connection I have to New Orleans that makes me want to just go down there and help, even though I haven't been there in over 25 years.

My roommate in college, Sue, left our school in Texas to finish school in New Orleans. She was going to be a nurse. She might have been in New Orleans still when Katrina hit and ended up helping others had she not died 25 years ago helping one other. Only 22, she was out on the town with friends--fellow students--when a car pulled up beside them and grabbed her companion. Being Sue, she dove into the car after her friend and was instantly shot in the face. Fortunately, they both fell from the car to safety from the blast. Unfortunately, Sue died that very night.

One January, a couple of years earlier, I met Sue in New Orleans before classes started back for the semester. She took me on a real native tour of the city. We stayed off of the well-traveled paths and took the ones--well--less traveled. Down alleys and around corners. Through wrought iron gates and into tiny shops with no names above the doors. In one shop, I swear she knew the proprietor because it seems as they both conspired to get me to "try some of this perfume". Sniff! My face flushed as they both doubled over hysterical at my reaction. "What the hell...?" It was amyl funny...

Sue was Miss New Orleans that day. My ambassador to adventure, the wild side I never possessed. I never went back to the city after our tour. Not even when a bunch of girls went to celebrate Mardi Gras with Sue just a month before she died. Had I known I only had a month left to see her, I might have made an effort to go. But I was newly married and I stayed home and let my single friends go party it up in the Big Easy. And then she was gone.

I gave my daughter her name and invested New Orleans with her spirit. That way, whenever I heard anything about New Orleans, I thought of Sue--she was still around. Laughing at the silliest things, taking risks and dancing...always dancing. And this town that she held in the palm of her gone. Like Sue.

I miss New Orleans.

Suzanne 1958-1980


The world as I see it and make sense of it–or not– as the case may be. - See more at:
The world as I see it and make sense of it–or not– as the case may be. - See more at:
The world as I see it and make sense of it–or not– as the case may be. - See more at:
The world as I see it and make sense of it–or not– as the case may be. - See more at:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Thinking of Jimmy Carter

 Author's Note: Many years ago, I wrote this essay about my Dad and Jimmy Carter. The recent news of President Carter's cancer diagnosis is sad and I heard about it while visiting my parents in Florida, where my Dad is still recovering from his coma. I remembered this essay and am posting it now as a tribute to both men, still strong despite the challenges of a life of hard work and debilitating health issues.
My parents with the Carters at Maranatha Baptist Church in October 2003)
 My Dad, Jimmy Carter and me
February 2003

I have a crush on Jimmy Carter. I think he can fix all the worlds’ ills and strife just by opening his mouth and allowing that soft, gentle Southern accent to pick everyone up in its great big ever-loving, peanut farmer richness and get everyone to start remembering just what is important in this world. Like peace, shelter, dignity, rights. I’m not alone in this feeling, am I? The man did, after all, win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Maybe it was because Jimmy Carter was the first president I ever voted for. That is a memorable experience – voting in one’s first presidential election. It is a huge civic and mature responsibility especially when combined with an equally exhilarating milestone – reaching the legal drinking age. I was of age, in Texas, in my first semester at college and voting for a United States president – who won! It doesn’t get much more memorable than that.

Or, maybe it’s because he resembles my dad. My mother has always maintained that I have been drawn to men who look like my dad – blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed. I once kicked my pediatrician’s stethoscope across the room and hid under a table, all because, according to my mother, he had dark hair and didn’t look the slightest bit like my dad. I was pretty sure it was because he was messing with my dress and he had a huge needle in his hand. I was four, I’m supposed to be discriminating? My dark, chocolate-eyed, Italian husband doesn’t believe that theory, and hasn’t for the last some-odd years. But the fact remains, there is a resemblance between Jimmy Carter and my dad. I have definitely done a few double takes when I’ve seen Mr. Carter on TV– “Hey, what’s my dad doing on CNN?” Then I realize – oh – it’s just Jimmy Carter.

Looks aside, there are other similarities between Mr. Carter and my dad. They are both family men, married to the same woman for almost 50+ years, in their 70s, seemingly ready to retire and yet working harder now than when they had real jobs. Mr. Carter’s real job, of course was being president of the United States. My dad was a chemical engineer at General Electric. Now they are both peace activists working against time and tide of popular thought to prevent war, pain and suffering.
My brother writes a monthly newsletter from Hollywood, where he moved to keep warm. One of them referred to the emails that our dad sends us – daily. With the war in Iraq being waged daily on TV, the internet and in our hearts, the emails come fast and furious alerting us to peace vigils, phone calls to make, petitions to sign, and other people-driven contributions required to remind people that peace is good – war is bad. This activism has not just recently occurred, however. We attentive offspring have been watching our parent’s commitment to good causes all our lives. Because you don’t think my dad did all this alone? The very least he needed was my mother’s support. The best he got was her complete agreement in the issues and causes he felt needed the most attention. Hunger, race relations, conflict resolution, and yes, peace.

And here I sit, going to work everyday, reading or, sometimes not reading, all the emails I get, wondering, who thought it was a good idea to get this man a computer? I feel like I did when I was in grade school gym class. I hated gym class. Besides the fact that we had to wear these ridiculous blue gym suits – ugh – even the most un-athletic of us were forced to participate in very excruciating athletic calisthenics. Like jump rope. I guess my gym teacher also didn’t resemble my dad, because I didn’t like her very much either. Anyway – when the group jump roping started, everyone had to line up and jump in, jump for 10 counts or something and then jump out. Please – could I just wear this stupid gym suit to classes all day instead? It would be less painful. The anxiety I developed waiting to jump in, jump for the expected number of jumps and jump out was unbearable. I would let the other girls cut in line – they liked this crazy jumping!

And that’s how I feel about all this peace activist stuff – I am waiting for the rope to come around at just the right time so I can jump in and not make a fool of myself, or not fall down and get laughed at. What do I do? What can I do?

If I wasn’t so uncoordinated, I would smack myself in the forehead. Of course it has been before me the whole time – my whole life in fact. I’ve seen what one man – or woman – can do, both on the worldwide stage and the personal. My dad will never have a non-profit, nongovernmental organization named after him, like Mr. Carter. But believe me, he works hard at the same causes with the same impressive dedication. Mr. Carter has unlimited resources at his disposal and he has the dignity to use them with respect. There probably aren’t too many people out there who will say “no” to a former president. Plenty of people say no to my dad. But that’s ok – because he just gets back on the phone, computer, or podium and asks again. I have two role models before me, one whose website I can visit and research the latest work on conflict resolution and one I can call on the phone and ask advice from – that would be my dad. If I haven’t learned by now that one person can make a difference than I haven’t been paying attention. Or, to quote Mr. Carter’s Nobel Acceptance speech, “an individual is not swept along on a tide of inevitability but can influence even the greatest human events.” So where does that leave me? I guess I just get in there and jump.

(My mother sent President Carter's office a copy of this essay. 
He read it and sent a short note back in return.)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Too Old

You’ve heard it a million times: “I’m getting too old for this.” Most recently these words panted out of my own mouth as I tried to keep up with my daughter on one of our frequent walks around town. One of the routes we take (and we have several with varying degrees of difficulty) combines the flat sidewalk along Main Street with the uphill side streets by the firehouse and the post office. It was during one of those uphill stretches that I uttered those words that often describe a once-manageable task now found daunting: “I’m (huffing and puffing) too old (more huffing) for this.” And I wasn’t even the one pushing the stroller with my toddler grandson.

The Aging Cheerleaders would have you believe that getting older is all in one’s head. Adopt a positive attitude! Do brainteasers! But it’s not. Aging isn’t just in my head; it’s in my knees, my belly and many of my internal organs. Of course it is...these body parts have been around as long as I have, generally, and some diminishment in function is to be expected. My knees don’t always bend when I want them to and when they do achieve the desired angle in an attempt to ascend stairs, there is often pain associated with the movement.  What other mechanism can last that long without some deterioration? We’re not Volvos.   The uphill climbs I attempt never get easier, but there are days when I accomplish them with less exertion. And some days I feel like Sisyphus because-- “it’s just one of those days”--another aging adage that explains why doing something one used to do with ease is now fraught with some difficulty.

Until quite recently, I have been slightly oblivious to having to “deal” with getting old. I admit, those lovely comments insisting I must have been twelve when I had my children because how could I possibly a grandmother are sweet music to my ears. And although I am on a couple of medications that help regulate a faulty thyroid and some pesky hypertension, it’s not that big a deal. A little wear and tear on this old body has not hampered me in the things that I really love to do, which, quite honestly, isn’t that much--physically speaking. I like to walk (on flat sidewalks), do some swimming, putter in the garden and get down on the floor with my grandson to play trucks. I often opt for the low footstool instead of lowering myself all the way to the ground to play, but so far he hasn’t complained.  I can usually complete one of those brainteasers, too, if it’s not too hard. 

Facing my own aging struck me recently when I needed to choose a photograph to include with a local interview for my book. There is one (and only one) photograph of myself that I don’t mind showing to others. Obviously I use it every chance I get. But it’s slightly outdated and I was compelled to get a new one and the new one makes me look old. And it’s not the photograph that makes me look old. I am old. I am an older woman now and I look it. My hair is grayer, there are deep lines in my face and smaller ones around my eyes. And if you pinch the skin on my elbow, it stays that way much to the delight of my grandson, who tries it out every chance he gets. I must have thought all those aches and pains I’ve complained about over the last few years were going to go away. But they’re not. They’re here to stay and I am--to employ yet another old adage--not getting any younger.  My body and my mind and my looks are, in fact, aging. But, as they also say (and they must be those same AARP cheerleaders), aging beats the alternative.

In an effort to broaden my perspective on the aging process and how to best navigate its sometimes-choppy waters, I consulted my uncle Art. Uncle Art has been enjoying nonagenarian status for several years now. And counting. As far as I know he golfs fairly regularly and he and my aunt Diane play cribbage every night. They enjoy a steady stream of family visitors while managing a full social calendar, which includes continuing education courses. He told me, “Old age is a reward. When you reach old age, enjoy it fully. Don’t complain about not being able to do this or that any more than earlier in life when you would dwell on one obstacle for too long. If life is a meal, then old age is the dessert. And dessert is the best part.”

So that’s the advice I’m going to follow. The changes and challenges of getting older are no different than the changes and challenges at every life stage. A challenge is a challenge. Bodies will succumb to the planned obsolescence of physiology at one point or another.  I will learn to remember to enjoy the meal that has been my life. Besides, I always did like dessert best.