In our callow youth, whenever we overheard “old people” conversing, we thought it was so telling: old folks seemed to have nothing worth discussing but for the current condition of their body parts. Arthritis, hammertoes, hernias, who is the best chiropodist in town, bowels, etc.

We had no idea that if you have been friends with the same group of people for more than forty years, all the other topics of conversation have been long exhausted. There are no new jokes. Gossip about divorces and affairs is not possible, because the affairs have all been consummated and the divorces litigated. There is the news, but good grief, these days the news is so fraught we are afraid if we discuss it, someone will have a heart attack.

So it’s back to the state of our skeletal systems, our digestive missteps, the results of various medical tests, and who has the biggest bunions. It is a topic we can all relate to–sort of like in the old days, when we could discuss our tennis scores or how many sit ups we did in the mornings.

My knee hurts. It seems to rebel especially when I go downstairs. “That’s nothing!” A friend replies. “I think I have Lyme Disease. All my joints ache.”

“But I may have a tear in my meniscus,” I reply. (I think this is great, because it sounds like the kind of injury an athlete might have). Another friend chimes in with “My chiropractor says that he has never seen such a twisted spine.” I have no riposte for that.

“I am going to try hot yoga,” says another friend, who hasn’t yet qualified for medicare. “I think all that heat will be great for my sciatica, and it opens the pores.” Before I can figure out how pores and sciatica might be related, she adds, “My acupuncturist highly recommends it.” Again, perhaps I have not recognized the health significance of opened pores.

When you pass a certain age, your list of experts changes. In my thirties, I had

  • A shrink
  • A nanny
  • An aerobics instructor
  • A Weight Watchers group leader
  • Elmo and Big Bird
  • Dr. Spock
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Martha Stewart

Now that I am facing my own mortality and considering getting a recliner, I have

  • Dr. Oz
  • A chiropractor and massseuse on speed dial
  • Ina Garten
  • AARP
  • WebMD
  • A colorist (only my hairdresser knows for sure)
  • Anderson Cooper

I no longer scoff at people in restaurants chatting about open heart surgery, Preparation H, what’s new in heating pads, or those beds that go up and down. I love hearing about the latest pill for insomnia. Our friends get pretty hyped up when it comes to discussions of which foods lower blood pressure (watermelon, praise God, is on the list), because we are all here, we are all disintegrating, but we are fighting the good fight.

And honest to God, there DOES come an age when absolutely nobody goes on diets any more.


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I am unable to write anything worth reading.

Peace to Charlottesville and to the United States.

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We had a massive purge recently. It was pouring outside, and we were casting around for something to do. So I suggested we go through the cupboards. Whew.

Here is the thing: when you live in a house with tons of storage for thirty years, all those shelves, attic rooms, basement expanses, and charming “cubbyholes” fill up. The path of least resistance: why think about whether or not you might need something in the future if you can just shove it on a shelf somewhere and forget about it? No need to agonize about those three pewter napkin rings and where the fourth one disappeared to, right? It’s possible that we might have a single dinner guest sometime. Speaking of dinner, doesn’t everybody have seven sets of placemats? And a series of Christmas mugs with holly sprigs on them that you have never really liked, but heck, there is room on the shelf for them?

So we started going through everything. Right pantry cupboard, top shelf. One time I had a brunch. It was outside in the Spring. I must have thought all the guests were klutzy, because I felt it necessary to purchase twenty four white plastic mugs for the coffee, along with the same number of matching “luncheon” sized plates. I have no memories whatsoever of the party. Furthermore, I have not used either mugs or plates ever again, and yet there they have been, waiting, ever since. To Goodwill.

Doesn’t everybody have four egg coddlers?

How about Aspirin with an expiration date of April, 2005? Five sleeves of cotton pads? A giant pack of travel size Metamucil (what vacation was that)?

We also came across an entire drawer of those booklets you get when you buy a new appliance. You know, the ones that tell you about the warranty, how to troubleshoot, and who to call when something goes wrong before the warranty expires? We found the one from the washing machine we bought in 1972. The warranty has expired. 

Plastic containers, my Lord. There were millions of them. We got it down to four. For a person that hasn’t been to the gym in seven years, I had ten water bottles. We haven’t had a cookout in at least a decade, so we determined that we no longer need two dozen of those basket things  to put under cheap, flimsy paper plates. 

It was a long afternoon. We felt triumphant afterwards, and we both took naps.

But in the back of my mind, there is a little, worried voice:

“What if you decide to have a brunch?”


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Climate change is turning Dayton into a sort of rainforest. We have had so much precipitation that the lushness is overtaking us. The lawn has to be mowed constantly. There are mosquitoes everywhere. It is so humid that I break out into a sweat inside the air conditioned house whenever I exert myself even slightly. Folding laundry requires a shower afterwards.

The lushness is glorious, however. I feel almost as if we have retired to Florida without leaving home. The sound of rain hitting the roof is very cozy, and we have gotten used to carrying umbrellas with us.

Winter is another matter, however. I like snow in winter. Christmas in the rain when it is warm enough outside to go without a coat is just wrong. Sleigh bells-my grandchildren won’t even know what they are. Santa may have to start wearing Bermuda shorts.

I donated my down coat to Goodwill. I am not sure if it will make it all the way to Lapland or Alaska, or somewhere that is cold enough for winter coats. I am keeping my Uggs, though, because they “breathe.” I am not sure that breathing boots are a good thing, but I see girls wearing Uggs in late summer, so the Uggs may be good for those days when it cools down and I need something a bit warmer than loafers.

The electric blanket manufacturers must all be hiring lobbyists to talk to the President about global warming. They must fear bankruptcy. And all those ski resorts must be worried. And I have noticed that catalogs now feature sweaters in their summer mailings. Brainwashing-they think they can get rid of all of that unsold sweater inventory sitting around in their warehouses by telling us that wearing one in the summer is totally fashionable. As if we all need that extra layer on chilly 80 degree summer evenings.

In the meantime, I carry a little silk fan around with me in my purse, I drink water like it’s going out of style, and I thank heaven for anti-perspirant. And I say a prayer daily that my ice maker won’t go on the fritz.

August is coming. The neighbor kids won’t be setting up lemonade stands-they will be offering breakfast specials: two eggs, sunny side up, fried right here on the sidewalk!


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If you are not a Facebook user, this post may not excite you. If you are on Facebook, and you love to read, then it will! August 8 is the day. Readers Coffeehouse is the place. On that one day only, dozens of terrific authors, including Pam Jenoff, Mary Kubica, Catherine Ryan-Hyde, Steena Holmes, Katie Moretti, Kimberly Belle, Liz Clark Fenton and Lisa Stink Dannenfeldt, Laura Drake, Heather Gudenkauf, and many others–including me, will be doing giveaways of their signed books to readers. All day long, new books will be posted.

If you are not a member of this public Facebook group for readers, just look for it in the Facebook search bar and join. The giveaway is all day on August 8, with individual authors posting their own book giveaways throughout the day. This will be an epic event, and you won’t want to miss out.

In the meantime, enjoy the heat and humidity. But put August 8 on your calendar, and check in regularly during the day for the continuous bookish fun! :)

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