Baby Boomers Stuck In Traffic

We’re a generation of being stuck, not really here nor are we there yet, we are right smack in the middle. In the middle of what, you might ask? Well, we are still a little unclear about that too but we know a big change is coming soon. A big, big change. Now, we are just about ready to handle it and we are patiently (okay, not so patiently) waiting for it to find us. It will, I’m sure. We’re looking outside and within.

Thankfully, unemployment has forced many people to plan for the next step in their lives  a little earlier than they wanted. The early push, through, made us go through the stages: the terrified, freaked out, tearful, frenzied stage and we have now started to calm down and have a game plan. We have some sense of what we want to do in the future, which in itself, is a huge step and stress reducing too. We have no choice.

English: Trees and sunset at the beach in Coli...

English: Trees and sunset at the beach in Colington Harbour on Colington Island, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What to do, where to go? Aging Baby Boomers in a frenzy? Yep, I’m right there with you, I agree, “it’s time to figure out our path.” Let’s face it our children are now grown adults, very soon they will be college graduates, they don’t need us, in the same way, as they did before. I’m not sad about that anymore ( of course, I was) I’m proud of both adult children.

It’s time to focus on my husband and me and to start again. Living in the same place for many, many years has been amazing, seeing my children grow from babies to adults has been the best present anyone could have given me. I both love and like these two very different people. They have their own lives and are accepting that their lives will change too, not necessarily by choice but out of necessity.

We can’t afford to stay in the same, expensive neighborhood, (paying for school taxes was FINE and (that were worth every penny  when they were still in school !!! )  but they graduated and they don’t go to school here anymore. It’s time to think about moving on. Where to go? We are not sure just yet but we both agree it’s time think about it. Where to go? The million dollar question. Any suggestions?  One state, maybe one country at a time.

Having worked through the age issue, the comfort issue, I am now looking forward to our next chapter. I know one important thing, for me, I need to live near water and we will rent a town house or condo, not buy, at least not for a year or two. That’s in my comfort zone and it’s my turn to have a say. A strong say.

Picture us anywhere, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, off the coast of Spain? We’re not sure where we are going but we know for sure we are thinking about being on our way.

It won’t be easy, change is always bittersweet. But, overpaying for something you can’t afford just because of familiarity is certainly not the way to go. Change will present itself to us, I’m sure. Our eyes and hearts are open, we’re listening.

 

 

 

 

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Living in Other Countries

A 4 x 1 segment panorama of the Toledo Skyline...

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Invite Us, Please.

If the opportunity presented itself to my husband and I we would definitely go. Where? England, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands….etc. we are really open. I always thought it would be wonderful to live in another country for a year. Maybe two….

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Living in Other Countries

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA

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I had the proud distinction when I was little of being the “only born American” and I wore that honor with pride. My parents and my older sister were all born in different countries and even though my parents and sister came to the United States when my sister was 9 months old, I still felt special.

At this point in my life, with my husband and our two almost grown children, I would love to live in another country for a few years. Italy, Spain, England, Holland? Greece, Israel, Japan? I love to visit different countries when we can afford it. The only place I wouldn’t want to live? Paris. I would be such an American outcast, wearing my blue jeans and long-sleeved gray GAP shirt, sneakers and clogs. There’s no way I’m wearing high-heeled stilettos and expensive outfits for any city. However, the French countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and I wouldn’t mind learning how to make cheese. For now, I think I’ll stay right here in the USA where I can wear what I want and still drink strong coffee and pastries. If, however, the opportunity came up…..I can pack quickly.

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Larry And Lola (A Comfort Food Blog)

The Gerber baby, who appears on the packaging ...

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I have a weird relationship with food; in addition to just adoring it I name it.  Apparently, I started really young giving names to food based on the person I ate the food with or the person who introduced me to it. First, there was Larry. I was friends with a little boy named Larry when I was about 18 months. Larry consists of peach baby food (I have advanced to pears and fruit delight) and cottage cheese. Not mixed together. Ever. Eating Larry consists of a ritual dipping of a teaspoon into cottage cheese and then dipping it into Gerber and only Gerber peach baby food. (I honestly feel that I began to love babies because of the Gerber baby picture on all the jars.) Not only did I eat this when I was very young but still eat it on occasion. For freshness and sanitary sake, I now put the cottage cheese in a separate little bowl but eat the baby food right out of the cute, little, smiling baby jar. After all, nobody eats the baby food except for me. My children, when they were growing up did not have the same fondness for Larry as I did.

Lola. Lola is my mother’s best friend. She made a salad (of sorts) that I thought was absolutely delicious when I was a girl and now make it for myself (because no one else will eat it.) I don’t know why but when Lola served Lola everyone seemed to love it. Must have been her charm and charisma.  I made my mother ask for the “recipe” and then made it myself. First, buy a small jar of peas and carrots (go for the brand name, not the generic), drain the juice (or liquid as they say in America), and add mayonnaise (Hellman’s only) to the remaining peas and carrots. Stir. This is Lola and believe it or not Lola saved my life while I was on vacation in Spain because Lola, known as a Russian Salad in Spain, saved me from eating a lot of raw, wiggly fish that I couldn’t stand. In addition I attended a lovely Russian wedding last year and again, we were served a Russian salad that made me squeal with delight when I saw it;  it was, in fact, Lola with hard-boiled eggs. Imagine that. I don’t think Lola knows about Lola. I remember giving an old friend the recipe to make Lola and she burst out laughing uncontrollably when I got to the “drain the juice” part. Apparently she was guffawing because she said “as if anyone else would eat this.” I found that a little insensitive but we are all entitled to our own opinion. For someone whose comfort food was a plain hamburger, I say nothing.

My all time comfort food are soft-boiled eggs (peeled very carefully-this is critcal) in a dish with a teaspoon or more of butter and two slices of toast torn apart and mixed in. All you need to add is a little salt and there it is: ultimate comfort, it really doesn’t get better than that. My back up comfort food is always an American cheese sandwich on bread with butter. Scrambled eggs with Welch’s grape jelly or grape jam (depending on what consistency I want) and another comfort item called banana mush- mush, a dessert item, which is mashed up bananas (use a fork) with sour cream ( now plain fat-free yogurt) with sugar or sugar substitute.

I’ve taken a little survey and some responses to my question “what is your favorite comfort food?” are as follows: a black and white milkshake, brown sugar on bread with butter (rolled like a jelly roll,) buttered Saltine crackers with slices of kosher dill pickles on top, (the originality winner in my book), oatmeal with sugar and cinnamon, Swanson’s chicken à la king (on toast), Campbell’s tomato soup with (Kraft) American cheese and crumbled up Saltines, Yodels (peeled or unpeeled) AND… french fries dipped into an ice cream sundae. The last dish, definitely gets props in terms of combining sweet and salt.  Thanks guys for your help. I’m off to the grocery store now to see if there are new products to buy or to perhaps buy a new comfort food, borrowed from a friend.

Not Posting In Spain; Driving Me Insane

Roses - Spain - Spanien -  Abendstimmung

Image by Ela2007 via Flickr

-I am going to Spain, with my husband for ten glorious days. It appears things really do happen for a reason. We offered to take our teenagers to Spain, a place they have always wanted to go to and they declined. What? Yup, you heard me. When they politely (?) declined we were hurt and definitely confused about them not wanting to come. In the end, it worked out perfectly.

-Our son, the Senior in HS, didn’t want to be apart from this friends on their spring break and while our daughter wanted to go to Spain, she didn’t want to go without her brother. So, we stayed home while they had spring break (we are not stupid parents) and we left for Spain, just the two of us, three weeks later. Sometimes life is not only good, it’s great. I should have trusted that it would turn out this way.

-Our children have always left us to go to sleep away camp for 8 weeks each summer but we have never left them.We have talked to them, of course, and it sounds like things are going smoothly. I have no idea what the house will look like upon our return (silly me, of course we know how messy and dirty it will look like) but this vacation is worth pretty much anything.

-Today we left 3 days in Barcelona to drive to Roses, Spain. Honestly, I am not quite sure how we ended up here but I am glad we did. We are spending a few days at this little beach town.

-On the road to Roses from Barcelona we took a local highway. I noticed a woman sun tanning in a beach chair at the first exit. Soon, I saw another woman at another exit. Soon, my husband saw it too, how odd, I thought to sunbathe on the highway. A couple of exists further and the beach attire the women were wearing became skimpier and skimpier. Their poses were, shall we say, suggestive….. One woman wore a bright yellow warning sign on her lap. I read some place that they are supposed to have that garment too. Apparently the highway is notorious for having women sell their bodies at exit ramps. Is it legal or illegal? My husband googled it but we never came up with a clear-cut answer. Whether it is or not is immaterial, it happens. Hey, what do I know, I’m just a tourist!

-There is no happier place on earth for me than on any beach, especially one that has shiny blue-green Mediterranean water. There are flowers in the middle of every street, each street for the town has red roses in the divider. Sigh.

-We went out to eat at a local place where we let the waitress tell the cook what to make for us. We didn’t speak their dialect of Spanish and they spoke no English, but we smiled a lot and pointed and laughed and had a delicious meal. We ended up eating a beef stew, very tender meat in a brown sauce, a salad of lettuce and fresh, ripe red tomatoes and a white cheese platter served on a white plate, creamy and delicious. Of course, my husband sampled the local sangria (that’s a given.)

-We stayed at a hotel that we hated. It seemed like it was a geriatric nursing home and we were in the wrong place. Mind you, we are NO youngsters but we felt like teenagers at this place. The hallways were dark and it felt like we were underground. I clutched my husband’s arm each time we had to go there. It smelled musty and dank, the food was mushy and had no taste, the coffee was undrinkable. After two long nights, we left. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It had bad vibes written all over it, bad smell, bad everything.

-Our reward: I looked up another hotel that was about twenty minutes and closer to Barcelona for the way back. IT WAS STUNNING, it was also brand new. Things got mixed up but with our reservation but the hotel/resort was welcoming and beautiful. For our “inconvenience” they upgraded us to a suite overlooking the ocean. Ten minutes later, a bottle of complimentary champagne appeared at our door. We were in love.

to be continued……

The Color Of Spain

Y se hizo el color

Image by Zyllan via Flickr

Having been in Spain for over a week now, the color of Spain, to me, is burnt orange, terra-cotta.  I have pieces of smooth, slippery rocks that I collected from the beach. They capture the feeling in my heart, and remind me of this beautiful country and the interesting dialects and eclectic and interesting food from tapas to wiener schnitzel, pizza and kabobs, paella, different creamy white cheese served on a white plate.

We decided to first stay in the magnificent city of Barcelona for the first few days surrounded by a cacophony of French, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, and other languages we could not decipher. It’s fascinating to see and hear different people all the time, just walking down the busy streets you feel like you are in a United Nations convention. We went walking on the touristy streets in the big city, seeing people “statues” move and delight the crowds. Wait, is that a statue or….hey, it’s a man barely moving for minutes on end. A cup was available in front of them, for tips.

We ate tapas (tastings of many small things that you pick) ranging from something that tasted like cream cheese and jelly (perfect for me) to meatballs, fish, grilled herb cheese with tomatoes, sausages and crabmeat. We (ok, my husband) drank Sangria and wherever you go the drink is slightly different. Sometimes it had sugar in it, other times sparkling water was added to it, in a different place the sugar was not in the drink but on the rim with fruit bouncing happily in the red wine. Sangria was a staple and for me “Coke Lite.”

Just to be in another country was wonderful, breathing the air, seeing the different plants, colors, people, birds. When you are in another country you experience joy from just waking up in a new place excited to go on new adventures. After hours of walking you whisper good-night to each other across a king size bed. Traveling, to me, is a fantasy.  We spent three free nights in a wonderful hotel that included breakfast, croissants and coffee. The croissants have a very tiny sheen of sugar baked on the top, perfect in the morning. Coffee all the time, espresso, regular coffee, double espresso, cafe latte. There were different types of yogurt, cheese, olives, sausage and bread.

Children are running around with their parents pursuing them, excited screams for gelato were heard. Smiling in any language seems universal.

Waiting In A Too Still Moment

Thunderstorm - NOAA

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There are a lot of things going on but except for the doctor’s appointment I had today, with a breast surgeon ( I’m fine) I am waiting for things to happen.  My dog looks unwell, tired and scared, she is not eating. Is it the upcoming thunderstorms she feels approaching or…..is she too old?  She won’t come up the stairs, that is very unusual. I changed my own doctor’s appointment next week because I noticed my dog’s exam with her veterinarian is scheduled for the same day. I will go with her; I have always gone with her, every year for nine years. She needs me and I need her. She is nine and sometimes I look at her and want to quietly weep. My pup. I’ve had you since I rescued you at six weeks old.

I am waiting for test reports to come back, not for myself; the phone is quiet, not shrieking, loud and  jarring as it usually is.  It is never this quiet here.  I feel a pause in the universe and inside myself.  There are no sounds in the house except my fingers clicking on this old keyboard. I am concentrating on the stillness and it feels surreal.

Will it feel like this when both my kids go off to college? My son, is going to college in September; my daughter, my baby, next year. Prom is the day after tomorrow and I am still in disbelief  that time has passed so quickly. Even though I have seen the handsome tuxedo and the grin on my son’s face I can’t believe it is here. I am afraid I will cry when I see the sparkling young couples posing together for their prom pictures. I will bring sunglasses and not let it show although my son only has to take one passing glance at me and he will know. I will NOT let him see.

I could pick up the phone but I don’t want to ruin this eery quiet with unnecessary noise. The silence and solitude, I fear, is meant for a reason. I am breathing deeply. I sip from a small, green Pellegrino bottle, it seems to be the only color in the entire room. I never liked to drink water before but I enjoy this. Maybe it’s because we drank bubbly mineral water, every day, when we were in  Spain.  Our Spain vacation with my husband, for ten days, now seems like a dream I had; it is getting cloudy in detail, in texture, in color, in my memory.

I would like to keep everyone safe and healthy but I have no control. I am  gathering up courage in order for me to help others. I am trying to come from a centered place. I am controlling anxiety by breathing but it is beginning to be hard to swallow. My dog, my son, test results, weather, change is coming quickly, but it isn’t here yet.

It is getting cloudy now, maybe the thunderstorms will come and relieve the awful, suffocating heat. The thunderstorms are supposed to make the weather cooler; I know that but my dog doesn’t. I will keep her near me, my arm around her fur and wait for the storms to come crashing down like glass shattered by a young boy’s errant baseball. Everything can change in a moment, I want to be ready.

Stuff I Collect

A selection of seashells, hand-picked from the...

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I don’t collect things like coins or stamps or Mickey Mouse dolls, though I did have a brief flirtation with both foxes and cows and an occasional stuffed animal. Now, the only thing I collect (and I won’t say memories because that is way too sappy) are seashells. I’ve always loved seashells, the beach and the ocean since I was a child. I remember going to the beach, Jones Beach, very early on Sunday mornings, with my friend Micky (now Michal) and her father, Teddy and my parents and sister, Edna (now Emma). They would come over and bring kaiser rolls, you know the ones that have the tiny speckled blue-black seeds on top. I would look at Teddy’s cut roll which was always piled high, with at least an inch of butter on it, if not more. That image has always stuck in my mind. Also, we ate soft-boiled eggs those magical Sundays and while I was brought up, by my European parents, to slice the “head” of the egg with a knife, Teddy always tapped his egg on top with a tiny silver spoon. I remember that image and his face as if it had happened yesterday.

I’ve always loved the beach and the water and it I started way back then, when I was not more than 5 or 6 to walk on the sand and pick up shells. I still have shells from wherever I go, just a few. My most recent shells are from this past trip to Barcelona and the Coast with my husband. I will put them together in a tiny, special, delicate dish and those shells from Spain will remind me of the soothing sun, the glittering green water, my wonderful husband and our amazing vacation.

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Professional Goals for the Next Year – Plinky Prompt

Donna Reed as Donna Stone, Paul Petersen as Je...

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NO PROBLEM !

As a mom I have my professional goals all planned out. By the end of this year my son, a Senior in High School will be admitted to a college that he loves and of course one that we can afford (ha ha.) At the same time, our daughter who is a Junior now will also only want to look at SUNY colleges we can afford (and yes that means in OUR state only!) I’d like my husband to enjoy his job but spend more time with his loving wife (me) and I would like to have more (ok, some or even a little) fun.
I would also like to know, in the next five years what exactly a “movie” is, it’s been so long I can’t recall anything later than “The Princess Diaries” with my daughter and perhaps “Balto” with my son. I do admit I did bring the children to the movie “Recess” but since I slept through the entire thing, it doesn’t really count.
I want to travel, with my husband or by myself, I want to take a cooking class and maybe an art class or maybe a class at the community college. I want to continue writing and making collages and cards.
I want our kids to look forward to seeing us instead of trying every possible way to get out of the house for any reason just so they are not home! Now, the kids only go out with their friends, even going out to dinner with their parents is embarrassing, not to mention a family vacation. What kid would say “No” to a free trip to Spain? Spain!!! One or both of mine, apparently. Further, my goal is to enjoy my grown-up time when both kids are in college. And as I quote my husband when I asked him what another word for “empty nester” was, he smiled broadly and happily yelled” FREEDOM.”