Category Archives: growing older

GPS-free Driving, or “It’s a long way home.”

Real Blonde is on the road, having dropped her husband off for a flight.

“Hope flight was good. Before I left the airport, I had my first pee at the Atlantic Jet Center. All was well as I proudly found the route to 888 North. This is a woman who knows her way!!!!
Real Blonde with a purpose

Sitting there watching the scenery go by I miss the 280 exit…… OK… I keep on going and I see that in another 150 miles there is a turn-off for 85…. This is good because I know I’ll have to pee again. I do take 95 and I am waiting for the 280 turn-off, which I realize is there just as I pass it. I now really have to pee. I look for an exit sign that will ring some sort of a bell since nothing else in my head is ringing.

Finally, El Camino!!!! Yeah! I know that one. Take the turn-off, find a gas station. I am now in one of those towns with strange-looking people milling around. Bad bathroom but picky is one thing I’m not at this time. Not sure I’m on El Camino. Leave the gas station, street names still not ringing my bells.

I drive on, now I have to pee again…. I finally decide to ask where I am and there’s a store that looks nice. Turns out to be Whole Foods and I am in Los Altos and have driven for miles and miles already on El Camino!

I pee again and buy some Arnica for bruising. Not related to this car trip. I get to Stanford around 11. Tell Tina I am joining her 5-mile-radius group. Not venturing out anymore. Oh, I had to pee again at Stanford.

By the way, it’s freezing here but the sun is finally coming through. Say hello to all.

Love, Inky”


Matching Ears

This post comes from Inky, our Real Blonde! guest writer. So just ignore the NQB “signature” that appears under the date. It’s a programming thing. Rather than fight it, we’ve chosen to ignore it. We’ll let you know up-front when Real Blonde is writing.

Nobody prepared me for this. Certainly not my Nordic family. To start with, I am married to an American – Italian man, which means that nothing is held back and he needs to be heard.

We’ve reached the age where ears play a major role in our lives. We just came home from dinner with friends at a local restaurant. Here’s what happened.

Can you hear me?
I'm all ears, honey

We checked in with the 23 year-old hostess and informed her that we would like to be seated where the noise level was manageable because of bad ears. She had no clue about Old Man Ears.

“Matching ears ” is an essential part of restaurant life in our world. That, and the location of the air conditioner, which I will get into later.

The men tell us which ear is the good one and which one bad. The wife should sit next to the bad ear because she really doesn’t have anything new to say to the husband anyway. When we are all matched up, ears aligned to the right listeners, the wives sit down in assigned places. (With the ear issue organized, we turn our focus on whether there’s an air conditioner blowing on anybody’s eyeballs or giving anybody a stiff neck. These things don’t happen to anybody under 40.)

My husband’s right ear is bad, which makes it hard on me when he drives and I am saying something brilliant. Hearing “What?” three times (getting louder each time) takes away some of my spontaneous brilliance and after awhile I just ask myself “Do I really want to say this three times?” The answer is usually “No.” I give up.

Another common ear thing that happens is when you are three rooms away from your husband and you hear “Have you seen my keys?”

You answer, truthfully, “No. I have no idea where they are.”

Then you hear a cranky voice, “How do you expect me to hear you from three rooms away?!?!”

Of course, if you are five rooms away and whisper, “Do you want to have wild, uninhibited sex, anything goes?” The ear thing clears up in a second.

Five Easy Clues That You’re Growing Up, and Up

A somewhat scary thing happened to me recently. As I slid into the passenger seat of my friend’s car one evening, micro-tiny, super-bright, golden-colored lightning bolts suddenly started flashing at the edge of my field of vision. At first, I figured that her car was doing something slick and fancy.

“Do your car’s lights have a kind of strobe-y thing that they do at night?”

She assured me they didn’t. The flashing became persistent, about every ten seconds or so. Being a concerned friend, she suggested that I call the ophthalmologist right away. I caught him just as he was leaving his office.

“Come in at nine tomorrow morning,” he said. “If your vision gets bad, go straight to the emergency room.”

We promptly added martinis to our plans for the Continue reading Five Easy Clues That You’re Growing Up, and Up

How to Keep Your “Bah Humbug” Humming

I love Christmas. It’s just that over the decades, a few things that come with the holiday are now taxing my tolerance and spirit. I’m trying hard, really hard, to focus on what still works for me.

Here are 7 things I like, in no significant order:

1. Carols, hymns, the religious story and celebration. (OK, that’s four things in point #1. I’m cheating.)

2. Christmas trees – fresh ones

3. Fresh, fluffy snow, but not blizzard-level

4. Sweet indulgences: cookies, etc.

5. Small parties featuring memorable people, food and wine

6. Gifts that surprise and delight the recipient (i.e., me)

7. Clever, amusing holiday cards (Thanks, Inky! You made my Christmas with your “normal family” photo.)

This list is nice, predictable, traditional and therefore not worth discussing here.

The other list, the scrooge-y one, is a different story.

Santa at Our House

Here are the top 5 things that make me want to file my teeth into points and indulge in lots of X-rated language. XXX words always improve my mood. Continue reading How to Keep Your “Bah Humbug” Humming

We’re Alive Until We’re Not

I don’t usually write posts of this length, but once I started, I had to keep on writing. This is dedicated to the unique gentleman who allowed me to share the last 18 months of his life. I will carry his memory forward with me. And here’s a loving shout-out to the dedicated staff at “famous 4A,” the hospice unit where I volunteer.  Please share this with anyone who doubts the value of hospice care.  Hospice offers a gift of time to those who chose this experience at the end of their lives.

Mr. S and I met eighteen months ago when he moved to the hospice where I work as a volunteer. At the time, he was a robust man whose appearance was initially intimidating. His pointedly-arched, bristly white eyebrows; piercing blue eyes; white hair swept back from his receding hairline…revealing a brow and forehead whose shape indicated that a sharp mind was operating within.

Those first days, he kept the door to his room closed, but thanks to the glass paneled top-half of the door, I could see him sitting by the wide window, looking out at the main entrance and driveways of the hospital, watching the comings and goings of people, the assortment of vehicles (buses, vans, ambulances, passenger cars, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, scooters and wheelchairs), and the landscape of hospital grounds and rolling hills beyond.

Continue reading We’re Alive Until We’re Not