59 Candles, 59 Things – part forty

Forty eighth thing – On my latest entry about things that make me happy, I have to share one of my new favorite things – Skechers!

You might be thinking, hmmm really? Are you running out of things?

My sister has praised Skechers for some time and while we were away for a recent girls weekend, I’d commented on a pair she was wearing.  We talked about the pain I have in my toes – so much so that I can hardly bear to wear closed toe shoes, live in UGG’s all winter and then my Merrell sandals and flipflops in summer.  I even bought a pair of seamless socks this winter, made for folks with diabetic nerve pain.  I have one pair of tennies that I can wear but they are getting a bit old and beat up. I knew the time had come to try Skechers.

I went to Amazon, my go-to shopping addiction, where I’m a PRIME member.  This gets me 2 day delivery, free shipping/free returns and great prices.  Wearing a size 11 makes it challenging to walk into a retail store so from the comfort of my living room, I scrolled through the selection and read reviews.  I settled on two pair and placed my order.

Straight away, I thought they were super cute, light-weight and tried them on.

“Oh no” I cried “This is NOT comfortable!”  Then I found a piece of cardboard packing in the toe……

After that, it was heaven.  I loved both pairs and wore them around all evening.  It may seem silly or as though I’m exaggerating but if you’ve never had terrible shoe-related pain, you can’t imagine my bliss.

I’ve been breaking in my first pair over the last two days and have been complimented more than a few times.  Which also makes me happy!

And pair number two, waiting for their first day in the sun!

 

This series, “59 Candles, 59 Things” was started on my 59th birthday to reflect on those things that make me happy! Spence keeps reminding me that May 12 is now less than one month away and I need to stay on track…..for more entries, check “59 Things” under categories.  And let me know, what makes you happy!

 

59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty nine

Forty seventh thing: The next entry in this series of things that make me happy is new experiences.  Since retiring, I have had a number of new experiences that have enriched my life, making my new “normal” exciting.

Some experiences, such as taking guitar lessons (a life-long dream) turned out differently than I’d imagined.  It was hard – awkward, painful and clearly not for me.  Others, blogging, yoga, meditation, writing, culinary knife skills – I truly enjoy.

This past weekend, I attended my first opera, “Orpheus and Eurydice”produced by the Opera Grand Rapids. Loving music, theater and dance, I was intrigued and was sure it would be great.  In truth, it was more than I could have imagined, it was magical.

Photos courtesy of Opera Grand Rapids Facebook page

Due to my unfamiliarity with this story I sought out a synopsis via Wikipedia, finding that it is comes from mythology, a subject I’d loved in high school.  The story is compelling, a love so great that after his wife Eurydice dies tragically, Orpheus travels into Hell to bring her back.

The staging was set in modern day, simple yet dramatic and very effective. There were three leads, dancers and a chorus, a small cast I learned (compared to grand operas).  The orchestra (while not visible from the pit) was amazing as was the haunting music.  There was a screen along the top of the stage which supplied translation of the lyrics making the story easier to follow.

“Orpheus and Eurydice” was fascinating and performed beautifully – the singing and acting conveying a deeply moving love story.

I’m so grateful to my dear friend for sharing her love of opera with me.  It was the highlight of an absolutely stellar girl’s weekend and a new experience that I’ll never forget.

Photos courtesy of Opera Grand Rapids Facebook page

For more on this series, “59 Candles, 59 Things” just click on 59 Things under categories.

59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty eight

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“Hey kids, you’re as old as you feel!”

Forty sixth thing: For this entry in my series, I’m celebrating getting older.

What???” I imagine that someone in the blogosphere is saying.  Stay with me.

I’ll turn 60 in May.  I’m pretty sure that whatever I thought that age would feel like, it’s not at all what I expected. My mindset, likes and energy are better than when I was in my thirties.  I’m blessed with good health and a sense of fun, a love of dance and travel, getting to hang out with Spence everyday. I’m constantly learning and exploring new interests

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I frequently break into dance…..

Getting older for me has been enlightening. I worry less about what others think about me and am not so hard on myself.  For example – earlier this year I signed up for a guitar class. Unaware that being left-handed would be a “challenge” with a right-handed guitar (which had been gifted to me) as well as my surgically repaired right shoulder, I was certain I could do it. I attended 3 classes and practiced each day. It was dismal, painful, awkward.  Though it had been a bucket-list item for me, it was clear that it wasn’t meant to be and I quit!

As a child, my Dad used to say “no one likes a quitter” and that was good advice for a kid.

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A time-out isn’t so bad….

The freedom to let myself off the hook with guitar lessons in favor of not aggravating my shoulder and accepting that it wasn’t fun was part of my journey.

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Better a unicorn than a guitar player for Spence’s Girl!

Here’s to embracing my inner child and celebrating the aging process!

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Hence the reason I married an older man!
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Hilarious!

For more in the “59 Candles, 59 Things” series, click on “59 Things in Categories.

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59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty seven

Forty fifth thing:  As I continue this series on 59 Things that make me happy, I must mention enduring friendships.

I’ve been blessed by long-lasting friendships. One of my two best friends, was my first-ever friend from the age of two. The other, I’ve known half my life (and I’m racing towards 60 in May) who for a time was my roommate. Oh the stories they could tell….

There are more long time friendships that I treasure dearly.  Last night I got together with three ladies I worked with in a position I left 25 years ago. At the credit bureau I added two more dear pals who remain in my life and a couple more amazing girlfriends from my final career stop prior to retirement. Another treasured friend, I’ve known since I was ten and she was married to a family friend. Over the years that age difference was of no consequence and any time spent with her is treasured.

I’d be remiss to leave out my sister and my mom who I consider to be friends and confidantes as well as my family.

To all of the incredible women who honor me with their friendship, love, compassion and unwavering support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Life with you in it is richer given the memories we’ve made and the laughter we’ve shared.

Here’s hoping for many more years….

 

For more of the “59 Candles, 59 Things” series, go to categories and select “59 Things”.    

 

 

59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty six

Forty fourth thing: For the next post in this series of things that make me happy, I’m amazed it’s taken until my forty fourth entry to talk about my nearly obsessive love of gardening.  Gardening makes me very happy.

Thanks to global warming, Michigan’s Spring comes sooner each year.  With cold though not freezing nights, plenty of sunny days and just enough rain, signs of life are abundant.  I have so many perennials and bulbs in various flowerbeds that are emerging from the earth that I feel my hands itching to get out and play in the dirt.  Today, I succumbed to that desire to do…..something. Too early to plant anything, nonetheless I had to get out there and start pulling out dead leaves, twigs and other debris while getting up close and personal with the new life.  Though only in the low 40’s, the full sun felt wonderful and I decided to make use of my energy by scrubbing down the entire deck, outdoor furniture and even scrubbing down half of my white privacy fence before I was too pooped to continue.  Spence followed behind me, spraying the suds and loosened dirt away.

And much to my surprise, I found the first flower of my 2016 garden in this tiny bloom, which made me very happy.

A miniature iris is a happy sight indeed!

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For more of my series “59 Candles, 59 Things” click on “59 Things” under Categories. I started this series last May on my 59th birthday and am using it to feature 59 things that make me happy.

What makes you happy?

 

59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty five

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Probably my favorite picture of Tipper!

Forty third thing:  For the next post in this series of things that make me happy, I have to include funny cat photos.  I know, right? But it’s true. I have a Pinterest board titled “Mostly Cats and Kittens”.  This post is meant to share the humor of what I think of as “the best of the best” and I hope it will make you smile today.

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59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty four

 

Forty second thing: For my next entry in this series about things that make me happy I want to talk about traveling with my soulmate and husband, Spence.

In my almost sixty years of life, I’ve gained a substantial amount of wisdom.  Many times I’ve shared this vital relationship litmus test with my girlfriends.

“Find out early on if you travel well together.  If not, the relationship is doomed”.

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I have more than a few painful-at-the-time, hilarious-in-the-retelling stories from my pre-Spence dating/travels but this post is about the joy of travel when you find a partner that is simpatico. It truly makes every trip better.

Spence and I will celebrate 25 years as a couple later this week. During that time, we’ve traveled extensively both across the USA and internationally.  Spence’s fearless nature and grasp of languages has afforded me great adventures with lots of off the beaten path experiences.  Ever flexible, we don’t overthink where a trip will take us.  Less interested in tours, we’re inclined towards finding where the locals go and our own spontaneous exploration.  What I love about travelling with Spence is that we feel the same way about places, frequently going back to destinations that hold happy memories.

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Last week, we went back to Laughlin Nevada.  We’d last travelled there for a few days when en route from Las Vegas to a rental in Sedona.  We liked the laid-back vibe in Laughlin and in particular, the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. The hotel had sent us offers since our last visit and a few weeks into 2016, we booked a 6 day/5 night free stay.  Using Delta SkyMiles, we snagged two free tickets flying direct from Detroit to Vegas. We did tons of walking checking out other casinos, solidifying that the Golden Nugget is our favorite. While strolling along the Riverwalk (which is on the Colorado River), Spence struck up a conversation with a guy wearing a U of M t-shirt. Gary, who’d moved there from the Detroit area a few years back, was a wealth of knowledge, sharing local history and enthusiastically suggesting we visit Oatman, Arizona.

Oatman?” we asked.  He told us how to get there and since we had a rental car, we decided to take a road trip the next day.

We started the day with a delicious breakfast, mine – breakfast soft tacos with avocado, eggs, cheese, bacon, sour cream and pico de gallo, Spence – two fluffy scrambled eggs and a dish of fruit. Driving across the Colorado River to Bullhead City Arizona, we continued out of town and into the desert in search of this old mining town. It was a fun day in a unique old west town (I’ll be blogging about Oatman in the next post) and a fine diversion from the casino action.

My favorite thing about trips with Spence is that we make our own fun, enjoying each other in the process. Our expectations are alinged, the delight in places we love is shared and our flexibility to spontaneous side trips and discovery of hidden gems creates new memories.

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What works splendidly in travel for us, may not work for others but isn’t that what makes our world an interesting and diverse place?

I hope that you find that soulmate who can make your journey better just by being part of it.

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For more on my series, 59 Candles, 59 Things, check out “59 Things” under Categories.  What makes you happy?

 

 

59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty three

Forty first thing: The next thing that makes me happy is one that I wouldn’t imagine being on the list when I started this series on my 59th birthday last May.

Weight Watchers makes me happy. 

On December 28th, when Oprah spoke to me (and millions of others) I heard her message “if not now when?” and it resonated.  Loving to cook and eat with the additional freedom to travel since retiring 2 years ago, I’ve seen the number on my scale inch upwards.  I was having so much fun that I’d become complacent. With 2016 on the horizon, I got online and signed up that evening.

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True that….
My expectations were that the first 5-10 lbs would come off with mindful eating and more movement – and that happened.  What surprised me is that I’ve lost 19 lbs in just two months while enjoying food. In fact if I’d been a bit more disciplined with choices when dining out and traveling, I’d have lost more by now.  Part of my success has to do with not depriving myself by having foods I love but in moderation and the other part is being more active.

Purchasing my FitBit has been integral to my acceptance that I’ve been living like a sloth.

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No offense intended, I once held a baby sloth in Costa Rica and it was adorable.
Accepting that I can’t change my past, I’m now tracking every step via the FitBit which syncs to my WW and FitBit apps on my iphone and MACBook.  It also means that if I’m running behind on my daily goal by bedtime, I fire up my ipod to a couple of my favorite tunes and “dance it out” in the kitchen.

Thank you Oprah for getting my attention, to Weight Watchers for an awesome program and great tools and to Spence, your encouragement and support are endlessly appreciated.

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For more of this series, “59 Candles, 59 Things” – click on “59 Things” under Categories.  And I’d love to hear what things make you happy.  

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A bit more animal/diet humor because seriously, haven’t we all been there? 
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59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty two

Fortieth thing –  For the next thing that makes me happy in this series, there is only one thing I could choose given the events of this weekend.

I finally got to see The Who!!!!!  This is a bucket list item for me, now completed.

There were times that I wasn’t sure it would happen. Keith Moon, their wildly talented drummer, passed away in 1978 followed by the passing of John Entwistle, their bassist, in 2002.  Sadly, I wondered if I would get to see Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend perform. After buying our tickets last year for an October concert date I received a text alert cancelling the concert indefinitely. Roger Daltrey was taken ill with meningitis.  This was scary news indeed and I opted to hold my tickets while praying for his recovery.

Prayers answered, Roger recovered fully and I received another alert that the concert was back on for February 27th. Happy days indeed.

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Main Floor, 29th Row, Center, seats 1 & 2 – sweet!!

A little backstory….I fell in love with this band back in 1969 with the release of “Tommy”,  listening endlessly, memorizing every lyric and nuance. Genius!  When “Who’s Next” came out in 1971, I was at the record store with cash in hand.  My first love bought me “Quadrophenia” in 1973 which I thought was pure brilliance.  The die was cast, I loved these guys and my love never wavered. I dreamed of seeing them in concert, never imagining I’d be 59 before it happened.

On Saturday, 2/27/16, we boarded the Detroit People Mover and headed for the Joe Louis Arena.

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It was a windy 46 degrees as we waited to enter, I noticed that the majority of the attendees were somewhere between Spence and my ages, not surprising.

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Right about now, I’m beside myself….

As with all good things, we still had a wait on our hands….the opening band had to perform and then the stage reset for The Who.  At almost 9:00, the house lights dimmed…

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OMG!

The opening number had the massive crowd on it’s feet. And unlike any other concert I’ve been to – NO ONE EVER SAT DOWN FOR THE NEARLY TWO HOUR SHOW! Seated on the aisle, I moved into the aisle, singing and dancing my 59 year old ass off – as was everyone (except Spence, who enjoyed it but tends to not sing along, nor dance at concerts).

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There are no words. To say this was epic understates the joy I was experiencing.  I felt like I was 16 again.

Losing my mind a bit……

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Tommy
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Behind Blue Eyes

In my 59 Candles, 59 Things series, this is probably the largest post (at least so far) but it was hard to edit myself.  Suffice it to say, attending this concert with Spence at my side made me incredibly happy!

Rock on……

 

 

 

59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty one

Thirty ninth thing: As the next part in this series, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention wine as being one of the things that make me happy.  Anyone who knows me can attest to my abiding passion for it. In almost every photo of me for the last 20 years, I’m toasting someone with a glass of red or white.

It wasn’t always so. In my (ah hem) younger years, wine and I were at odds.  Part of the problem was the “wine” I was drinking. Keep in mind, this was in the mid-70’s and Boone’s Farm was all the rage.  Also, MD2020 “Mad Dog” left lasting impressions and wicked hangovers. I was certain that I would NEVER enjoy wine.

Fast forward to age forty: At a wine tasting in Traverse City, I tried dry white wines and  liked them so much that I came home with a half case.  A few months later a dear friend and I were dining at an upscale Detroit area restaurant, she ordered Merlot.  I decided to try it and this began my love affair with dry reds.  I soon joined three wine clubs and learned a great deal about varietals and what I preferred over time.  My passion for wines knows no bounds as evidenced below.

Just a few glasses of wine enjoyed in my travels, cheers!

For more of my series, 59 Candles, 59 Things, click on “59 Things” under categories.