I neglected to mention that when I discovered my glasses were missing from the locker room at the college where I swim, I was certain that one of the college students had stolen them. I was sure that an 18-year-old attractive college woman wanted my glasses because they were new and the frames I had chosen were young and trendy (I don’t think people say “hip” anymore) … or so the clerk at LensCrafters told me. When my husband found my glasses, it was a little disappointing to find out that wasn’t the case.
Actually, the frames I’d chosen were dark heavy plastic frames; and, with transition lenses that included a special treatment to make them thinner so I didn’t look like I was wearing Coke bottles, my glasses had cost nearly $900. I’d spent two weeks trying to get used to the new lenses, but the letters on my Kindle screen were hazy and I was leaving work each day with a headache. I took my glasses to another optometrist shop, had them check my prescription and my new glasses and was told LensCrafters had done a good job. Finally, I decided to call in LensCrafter’s 90-day money back guarantee for full satisfaction.
What I learned when I returned to LensCrafters is that I have one ear higher than the other and my nose is not symmetrical on my face. When the heck did that happen? Therefore, the glasses couldn’t stay adjusted on my face, which meant I couldn’t find the “sweet spot” in the transition lenses for reading. What I needed were metal frames with plastic adjustable nose pads. LensCrafters stood behind their promise, the clerk helped me pick out a new frame and I now have another new pair of glasses. I’m back to reading my Kindle. Metal framed glasses with adjustable nose pads … one more concession to aging. I will wear them gratefully knowing they won’t be stolen.
Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. Because I recently lost my glasses, I was thinking about the little things he does to accommodate me. Things like holding my purse and sweater while I try on clothes in a department store. I remember how he used to carry Tampax in his sport coat pocket when I was dressed up and didn’t want to carry a purse. (That’s no longer an issue, by the way.) Or running to the store to pick up Tampax for that matter … also no longer an issue.
The other day after swimming I couldn’t find my glasses in the ladies locker room. Because I’m so impaired without my glasses, I leave them on a ledge where I can pick them up immediately when I enter the locker room after swimming. They weren’t there. Of course, I looked everywhere, but that’s hard to do when you can’t see well. I called my husband at home and asked him to come help me look for my glasses. By the time he arrived, the locker room was empty … I made sure by calling, “Is anyone here?” When no one answered, my husband came into the locker room, looked through two years of accumulation of lotion bottles, worn out swim suits and hair pins in my locker; traced my steps from locker to shower to pool and finally found my glasses on a poolside table. We determined that someone thought they’d been left in the lockeroom by mistake and put them on the table “in plain sight”.
As I groped around the lockroom, I really felt my age. My husband has promised to take care of me as I drift into senility … little does he know it’s already beginning.
I’m anxious on the way to the fitness center where I swim because frequently someone’s in the one lane that they’ve set aside for lap swimming. I check the website to make sure that when I arrive the water aerobics class is completed, the pool is free of children in swim classes, and the schedule says “lap swimming”. When I arrive I see moms and children climbing into their bathing suits so I check the pool before changing and showering. The pool is empty.
I hurry into my suit and take a quick shower and by the time I arrive at the pool, there are children already in the water… but the lap lane is free. I lay claim to the lane and just as I’m ready to start my first lap a lady says, “Can we share a lane?”
I hate sharing lanes. I’m not an efficient swimmer nor am I a small person. I like my space. But, without my glasses I can’t tell if the lady that wants to share might be someone I know. I don’t want to appear selfish or crabby. If I were 35, it would seem reasonable to say, “Could you ask management to put in another lane. The schedule says this is adult lap swimming time. Family swim doesn’t begin until noon.” But, I’m aware that what passes as a reasonable suggestion from someone young sounds crabby from those of us who are older. And the woman looking down at me might be someone I know. “Sure,” I say.
My friend, age 87, has a crab apple tree that is bursting with beautiful little apples that vary between dark blood-red and bright lipstick red. The branches are so laden with apple clusters that they’re bowed to the ground My friend, having grown up during the depression, hates to see the apple go to waste. She’s also concerned the neighborhood children will soon discover them and will make a game out of throwing them at cars that pass by. She’s lived a long time… I believe she knows what she’s talking about.
On Monday after work My Friend and I together picked crab apples, filling a Kirkland laundry soap bucket to the rim. Today I cooked the crab apples and made crab apple sauce and crab apple fruit leather… a completely new experience for me.
I was too embarrassed to ask My Friend how to make the sauces and jellies.,, at age 58 I should know how to make a jar of jelly, shouldn’t I? My Friend did tell me that I didn’t need to peel the crab apples (that’s the story from last year!) and could even leave the stems on. I cleaned the apples, filled the huge canning kettle nearly to the top and let them simmer for about 15 minutes until the skins were split. Then I was stumped… I didn’t know what to do next. First, I tried putting the apples through the juicer, but quickly discovered there was very little juice: I didn’t want apple juice anyway. Next, I put the grinding attachments on my Kitchen Aid mixer, but what came out was stems, peels, seeds and puree: I didn’t want to eat that. Finally, I drove to Ace Hardware and picked up a contraption to puree fruit and vegetables and separate it from the pulp. It worked beautifully.
The sauce was tart, but sweet enough that I almost didn’t add sugar. In the end I compromised by adding about one cup sugar to 10 cups of puree. I still didn’t know what to do with all the apple sauce… I knew I wasn’t up to canning… so I froze about five baggies full. I found the recipe for “Crabapple Fruit Leather” and thought that was perfect. Won’t My Friend be impressed when I show up at her house with a container of fruit leather!
This was exactly the kind of day that I fantasized when I thought about retirement. Even though it was a challenge for me to puree the apples, I had time and fun. A great day.
Today a colleague and I took a road trip to visit woman in an eastern Montana town who is a cancer survivor and a grateful patient of our hospital’s services. She has chosen to make a gift to benefit Meadowlark House, a house with four apartments that are provided free of charge for up to three months for patients who must travel to our city for cancer treatments. She and her husband both went through cancer treatments and both stayed at Meadowlark House for extended periods of time.
Now that she is making her estate plans she has chosen, with the help of her Ameriprize advisor, to place a 50% beneficiary designation on one of her IRAs to benefit Meadowlark House. The other 50% will go to another charity.
This is a revocable gift designation: The donor may change her mind at any time and the funds in her IRA are available to her during her lifetime if she should need them. Upon her death, the funds pass to the charities that she has listed as beneficiaries and do not go through probate.
There is much that could be written about the brave and generous women that we met today. I’m mentioning her story here as there may be others who will want to benefit a charity they love through a beneficiary designation on an IRA.
A disclaimer: No information in this blog should be considered financial or legal advice. Please consult you financial advisor if you are interested in making a charitable gift with estate assets.
I am flying on the second Alaska Airlines flight of my life and am realizing what a pleasant experience it is to fly with Alaska… something that isn’t said about too many airlines these days. There’s plenty of leg-room – the big fellow sitting next to me seems perfectly comfortable. The flight attendant has just announced they are serving complimentary beer (Widmer Ale no less) and wine. Can you believe it?
I’m also finding the airline magazine enjoyable: Perhaps because the articles are about our beloved west. Of particular interest to me is an article about upcoming theatre productions in the Seattle area. ACT will present the American premier of Sugar Daddies, by the “renowned British playwright Alan Ayckbourn (who’s directing his play in Seattle), will be performed Oct. 4 – Nov. 3.”
Alan Ayckbourn is perhaps my husband’s favorite contemporary playwright. As a director of dozens of community theatre productions (Billings Studio Theatre), my husband has enjoyed acting in and directing Alan Ayckbourn plays time and again. I’ve actually joined him in three productions of Table Manners.
We’ve never been ones to travel to rock concerts, but the prospect of a weekend trip to Seattle to see the production of Sugar Daddies directed by Alan Ayckbourn is very appealing. I’ll see if there are still tickets available. By the way… I got a complimentary refill on my Widmer and was offered another… which I declined. I need to make sure I can walk off this plane!
I have just spent the last two days at the Willamette Writer’s Conference, Portland, OR. At the conference attendees had the opportunity to spend an additional $30 (per consult) to sit down one-on-one with agents for 10 minutes and share information on the books they have available for publishing. I decided to go all in and purchased 6 consults. During the first three consults the agents scoffed… literally scoffed… at a “novella.” Too hard to publish, yada, yada… no surprise there. HOWEVER… my third consult was with an agent that presents ideas to the film/tv industry… and he said I could send him both my stories. Keeping in mind that he’ll probably have dozens of folks sending him their stories, I’m trying to not let my imagination run away with me.
I have written MAE’S STREET into a Christmas story titled, CHRISTMAS ON MAE’S STREET and will be publishing it on AMAZON BOOKS within the coming weeks. There were loads of writers at the conference who had success stories to share about their ebooks and how to publish successfully via AMAZON and the other ebook outlets. So … stay posted and join me on my journey to publish CHRISTMAS ON MAE’S STREET.