Thank you! On to Round 2…

Thanks to your votes, XUP has made into into the Canadian Blog Award finals. Now we have one week to pick the winner. So, please go back here and vote one last time (one vote per IP address).

You don’t have to be Canadian to vote!!! Just ask my American Campaign manager, Cedarflame.

Robin at Watawa Life has also made it into the finals in his category as did Alison, Gabriel and, of course Zoom in all five hundred of her categories.

Tale of Two Joans

In the 1940s, Joan was one of the more popular girls’ names. Today almost no one names their kid Joan.

Joan # 1

There’s a Joan on my morning bus. She’s about my age, originally from Newfoundland, single mum with a visually impaired child. Joan works in a seniors’ residence, a job most people would find very difficult, if not impossible to do. She sets up the dining room, serves meals; cleans up afterwards. Sometimes they move her to room care where she has to tidy and clean the resident’s rooms, do their laundry or run errands for them.

It’s hard physically and emotionally because the people she works with every day tend to die on a fairly regular basis.  And Joan works long hours without breaks, gets a very modest hourly salary, no benefits, no pension.

Yet Joan is always cheerful, full of chatter every morning about little things that happened the day before. She loves her job. And she seems generally happy with her life although she has very, very little and struggles to maintain a home for herself and her child and to provide for his special needs.

Whenever I think of Joan, I can’t help but think of another, very different Joan I knew once a long, long time ago.

Joan # 2

My parents and I immigrated to Canada when I was a toddler and they were both in their early 20s. We landed on a farm, working for this other Joan. She was a widow and ran a big farm with her adult son, Allen.

I have no idea how old she would have been, but she had white hair and her son seemed significantly older than my parents.

For some reason I was fascinated by Joan.  Joan had emigrated from England, when she got married and was the picture of the English countrywoman. So, first chance I got I trotted over to her house and knocked on her door.[1]

She let me in and I began snooping around her big old farm house. I’d never seen anything like it. Joan followed me around curiously and tried to talk to me, but of course I spoke no English.

Joan, being a no-nonsense type, soon got fed up with my wandering around her home touching stuff, so she gave me a dust cloth and showed me how to dust.  I guess she reckoned if I was going to walk around fondling her things I might as well clean them while I was at it.

I ran off to visit Joan whenever I could. Sometimes she had other chores for me; sometimes we’d sit in her parlour and listen to opera; sometimes she was reading and would plop me into one of her big chairs with one of the big, incomprehensible books from her big library and made it clear that I was to sit still with the book or I could leave. I sat.

I’d sit as still as possible in that parlour during reading or opera time and look around at all her photos and paintings and memorabilia – much of it wartime stuff. It was like a museum and art gallery in one.

Joan tried to teach me to play bridge and let me sit in sometimes when her ladies came over for tea and bridge.[2] I was allowed one of the beautiful china tea cups just like all the other ladies; and had my tea “very milky with several biscuits” and my own set of cards.

She also tried very hard to teach me English, but I never clued in that she was speaking an actual language. I just thought there was something wrong with her and that she was just babbling gibberish. When I finally when to school, at the ripe old age of seven, it suddenly all made sense. After that, it was easy. [3]

Once I could understand her, Joan told me stories about the war and her husband and how she, herself was a nurse in the war. She let me root through her library and her picture albums and talked about her paintings and let me play in her trunks of old clothes and toys and with her amazing collection of clip-on earrings.

Sometimes I was allowed to go on errands with her and sit in the front seat of her grey Volvo (which she replaced faithfully ever year with a new grey Volvo).

She helped me learn to read; she introduced me to a whole new world (literally and figuratively) of history, literature, art and culture.

She sorted out the school and the police when I was nabbed at 7 ½ for riding my bicycle down the middle of the road instead of on the side like I was taught my Elmer the Safety Elephant. They wanted to confiscate my bike for six weeks until they were sure I was clear on the rules. She got the sentence reduced to three weeks.[4]

And, one year, her grand-nephew, Charlie[5] came to spend the summer; so Joan was even indirectly responsible for my very first crush. Of course, he was around 16 and barely noticed I existed.

Mostly, I just helped Joan with chores around the house, dusting her beautiful things and chatting nonsense with her.

When I was nine, my parents bought their own farm and we moved away. I was probably sad, but I was above all resilient, so the first thing I did was find myself a new old lady.  This one was a spinster school teacher with a dark little house in the country. It took some convincing to persuade her that it would be fun for her to have me hanging around. But, I eventually wore her down.  We had a good few years together; but it wasn’t quite the same and that’s a story for another time.

Her name was Gladys.


 [1] I could only have been about five, but we were in the middle of nowhere and people weren’t as paranoid about letting their kids run loose as they are today.)

[2] Of course I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t really “play”.

[3] I was fluent in four months – not that I was any kind of genius or anything; it just goes to show how quickly kids can learn stuff. There were lots of immigrant kids back then and they all picked up the language within a few months.

[4] My parents didn’t speak enough English to be much help

[5] Years later when I was about 17, I was hitchhiking and this older guy picked me up in a grey Volvo. We got to talking and he told me he was visiting his great-aunt on her farm for the summer. Right away I knew and asked him if his name was Charlie. He was astonished; and though I tried to remind him who I was, he didn’t really remember. Joan was still going strong he said and I sent along my regards. I’m happy to report that Charlie had grown up to become a pencil-necked geek

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And no post would be complete this week without a pathetic plea for votes in the Canadian Blog Awards. Yes, XUP is nominated in the Best New Blog category. And thank you, by the way, to whoever nominated me. It sounds trite, but it really is an honour just to be nominated. Of course, it would be an even greater honour to win. So if you haven’t had a chance to vote yet, please click on any of these links, check out all the fabulous new blogs and then click on mine. Thank you.

Spankin’ the Monkey

(Note: Sorry, no photos)

The following conversation was recently overheard at the office. Co-workers Mimsy and Lily were discussing their teenaged sons. (Note: This conversation has been condensed considerably in order to highlight only the salient points and not bore you to tears with interminable digressions).

Mimsy:  My son, Willy is such a slob, I hate even going into his room. His clothes and his stuff are everywhere and his floor around and under his bed is littered with used Kleenex.

(Uma and I, in the next cubicle are trying to work, as usual. We look at each other and stifle a giggle)

Lily: What’s with all the Kleenex?

Mimsy: I don’t know. He has allergies or something. He has to blow his nose a lot, he says.

(Uma and I laugh silently, but heartily)

Lily: Wow, has he had allergy tests?

Mimsy: No, he won’t go. And they’re usually not too bad. It must be something in his bedroom. We might have to take up the carpeting. I hate going in there and having to pick up all those crusty Kleenexs every week.

(Uma and I, weak with supressed laughter have slid out of our chairs and are somewhat awash with tears of mirth)

Lily: Well, I guess I’m lucky. My little Dickie is quite tidy. He even gets up early and washes his own top sheet several times a week!

Mimsy: Really? Does he do any other laundry? And why would he wash his top sheet so much?

Lily: He does a lot of art in his room and he says he keeps getting paint on the sheet.

(Uma and I, on the floor, are unable to catch our breaths and are turning unbecoming shades of red)

Uma: (gasping for air whilst trying to whisper discretely)…Oh my god…should we…tell them???

Me: (hyperventilating and wiping eyes) Nah…

The conversation in the next cubicle eventually turns to other matters, giving us a chance to recover. Then:

Uma: (Earnestly) Thank goodness my little Randy is only 12 and too young for that stuff.

Me: (Loudly) Bwah-ha-HA-HA-ha-ha-ha-ha (Note: I have three younger brothers)

Uma: (Shocked) WHAT ?  No way!!!  SHUT UP!!! He’s too young  ………………………………………………….. isn’t he? ………………………  And he never washes his sheets and there are no crusty Kleenexs or sports socks under his bed ….. (she says pleadingly)

Me: How long does he stay in the shower?

Uma looks stunned.

So, off we went to consult some of the guys to see at what age boys begin developing allergies and/or a passion for long showers and/or begin doing art projects in their bedrooms.

The guys claimed not to be able to remember. We reckon maybe they were just shy.

Sooo, here’s an anonymous poll that will help Uma (and other women like her) understand their sons a little better. Feel free to add any comments/advice/amusing anecdotes to this post that you feel might further help Uma (and other women like her) avoid unnecessarily embarassing their sons with questions about their laundry, allergies, bathing habits, large baggy pants or clandestine reading material.

And, because this is an equal opportunity blog, after the men’s poll, I have posted the same poll for women, though I’m sure women don’t engage in such unwholesome activity.

I shall be interested to see how the results will compare, won’t you?

Men’s Poll
 

Women’s Poll

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And…If you’re still in the mood to vote on stuff and haven’t voted yet in the Canadian Blog Awards, why not head on over here and scroll down to vote for XUP in the Best New Blog category? If elected, I promise to insist on World Peace.

The Agony & the Ecstasy of Re-sealable Bags

Do you know what the worst, good idea that makes a ton of money is? This:

before-jpg1

The re-sealable bag. They have those little plastic tracks along the top of bags that are supposed to close by squeezing them together with your fingers and they’re supposed to open by simply pulling the two sides apart.

An excellent invention, really. No twist ties, no fold over bags that don’t seal in freshness – just a simple, self-contained, disposable air-tight container perfect for sandwiches, frozen vegetables, fresh vegetables, kitty litter, coffee — anything.

Brilliant, except — and maybe this is just me — they don’t work. Such a neat, simple concept that ought to work really well. But it doesn’t. But that doesn’t seem to stop everybody from using it; which I find really strange. So maybe I AM the only one in the world who is resealably-challenged.

I think Glad or some sandwich bag company invented them way back in the 1960s and now the patent has run out and everyone is free to put stuff in resealable bags. I wish they’d stop.

First of all,  I never know where to cut the top of the bag off. If I cut too far from the resealble part, the whole bag is still sealed with the glue part.  If I cut too close to the resealable part, then I have nothing to hang on to when I try to pry the resealable thing apart. Sometimes I even cut right through the resealable part.

If I do manage to make an okay cut, then I can’t open the resealable thing.  It won’t pull apart. I pull on one side, I pull on the other side, I pull in the middle. It doesn’t open. I usually end up ripping the bag.

Some of them are already open. But then I can’t close them. I push. I squeeze. I yell. I take a deep breath and then run my fingers gently, lovingly across the top of the bag feeling the plastic tracks connect and then…then… voila! It’s still open.

I hate these things. They’re horrible. They are the bane of my existence. Yes, I said “bane”.  And absolutely everything seems to come in resealable bags.  Everything that comes in a bag, comes in a resealable bag. I’d gotten to the point where I was seriously thinking of never buying anything in a bag again. That would have cut my grocery bill in half. 

But then I discovered …

clips1

Chip clips! They’re not just for chips anymore. No sirree. I use them for everything now — especially resealable bags. See?

freezer

This is my freezer full of stuff in resealable bags, sealed with chip clips.

I can get a big bag full of chip clips in a variety of sizes and colours at the dollar store for only a dollar! Sometimes I can even find them at the 99 cent store for 99 cents! What a bargain. They’re a snap to open and close; they do a jim-dandy job of sealing in freshness; and, they are quite decorative, as you can see.

So, screw you resealable bags!

after

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XUP has been nominated for Best New Blog in the Best Canadian Blog Awards. I am counting on winning first prize (a bejewelled trophy) so I can pawn it and buy my poor child a small gift for Christmas with the proceeds. It will be her first ever store-boughten Christmas present, so please go vote. For her. http://cdnba.wordpress.com/vote-2008/best-new-blog/

Thank-you.

Vote for XUP

This blog has been nominated for Best New Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards. I’m not really that new, but I guess the XUP blog is technically new since last November. I believe untold riches will be bestowed on the winner and I could sure use some untold riches right about now, so please go vote:

http://cdnba.wordpress.com/vote-2008/best-new-blog/

My good friends Zoom and Robin  and Hella Stella  have also been nominated in the Best Local Blog and Best Photo/Art Blog and Best Personal Blog categories respectively as well as The Elgin Street Irregulars for Best Group Blog and Party of 3 for Best Family Blog.  Go for for us all!!

Voting ends the end of this week, so hurry. HURRY!!

Thank you

5 Mysteries of the Universe Explained

It’s been a while since my Crack Team of Researchers and Investigators has produced anything, but rest assured they have been hard at work. Today, after months of intensive scientific exploration, I am pleased to present their report explaining some of life’s heretofore most puzzling mysteries.sock

Mystery #1 – Missing Socks: It’s a cliché by now that you never get the same matching pairs of socks out of the laundry that you put in. A sock or two always goes missing and even more oddly, strange new socks appear – socks with stripes or cartoon characters you don’t ever remember owning.

Explanation #1: When humans first began hunting, capturing and using socks to cover the most abominable part of their anatomy, socks began to develop survival techniques. Socks do not thrive in captivity; their live spans are shortened considerably and they are unable to reproduce. So, over the centuries socks have developed shape-shifting abilities which are triggered by extreme moisture followed by extreme dry heat. They can change colour, texture, design and even become invisible. To the human owner it then looks like one or more socks no longer have mates and they are then tucked away and forgotten in the back of some drawer in hopes that the mate will eventually show up. Left alone, without stress socks can then plan and make their escape back to the wild.

Mystery #2 – Dust Bunnies: Every week we vacuum and every week new ethereal wisps of unknown material appear in corners of our bedrooms, living rooms and dens — behind dressers, beds. What are these things? My Crack Team took some back to the lab for analysis.

dust1

Explanation #2: It turns out that dust bunnies are in fact something the Crack Team calls “paranormal hairballs”. It seems that spirits of the dear departed must linger on earth until they have divested themselves of all of their earthly humanness. This doesn’t happen all at once, so they wait on ghostly benches in people’s homes, like travellers at a train station,  coughing up these remnants of their corporal being. Once they’ve spewed out the last bit they’re free and are allowed to go into the light.

Mystery #3 – Stuff that goes missing only to turn up in a spot you’ve already checked seventeen times. You’re on your way out the door and you can’t find your keys. They’re not where you always leave them, so you frantically turn the house upside down looking for them. They’re nowhere. You end up taking your spare key or another family member’s key. At the end of the day, you get home and there are your keys – where you always leave them. 

Explanation #3: Aliens. Yes, aliens do exist and they do come to earth once in a while. They come not to abduct and probe humans, however. No, they come to take our stuff. They examine it, see how it works, what it does, maybe make copies for their own use and then give it back. Think about it – if you were going to a strange planet would you take some loud, obnoxious, sweaty alien to poke or would you take some of their cool gadgets? What good is an alien when you could have a phaser? Or a tricorder? Or a transporter?

Mystery #4 – The Smell of Subway Restaurants: You know that smell is supposed to be their “freshly baking” sub buns, but if you’ve ever actually smelled real bread baking you know this smell is nothing like real bread baking. For about one half of a second Subway Restaurants smell good and then the smell starts to make your stomach churn.

Explanation #4: Of course, as you’ve no doubt guessed it has something to do with the flour used in the baking. The base for every Subway Restaurant bun is something they call “special subway flour,” which is actually that greyish-black dust that collects between subway rails. Cities with subways pay Subway Restaurants a substantial fee for collecting this dust on a monthly basis. It is then cleaned and bleached through a special, top-secret Subway Restaurant cleaning and bleaching process, combined with salt, yeast and the special flavours unique to Subway Restaurants (honey, oregano, whole grain) and baked up fresh daily at every Subway Restaurant location.  And, because they aren’t subject to fluctuating wheat prices, Subway Restaurants can continue to offer affordable, low calorie (and gluten-free)  lunches to its customers.

Mystery #5 – Corn. Yummy, crisp, buttery corn. Right off the cob, frozen niblets or even canned and creamed.  The corn goes in your mouth. You chew the corn up with your teeth. You swallow the corn. It travels down to your stomach where it’s exposed to acids corrosive enough to take the paint off your car. The corn then continues its journey through a few miles of intestines. Then out it comes – completely intact. What the hell?

Explanation #5: This one had the Crack Team stumped for months until; upon microscopic examination they discovered that corn was actually not food at all, but a plastic polymer with amazing attributes. (Native North Americans referred to it as Amaize for that very reason. And also because they were amazed to see white people actually eating it. That made for some raucous stories and speculation around the camp fire on many an evening, let me tell you) Anyway, each kernel is compose of two flexible, pliable plastic parts – an inner and outer portion. We can mash them up with our teeth or even a blender and they separate and look like they’ve been masticated. Once they hit stomach acids, however, they resort back to their original shapes AND develop strong magnetic properties that allow the inside of each kernel to be reunited with the exact outside of the kernel from which they were originally separated. It’s a miracle of nature. It really is.corn_in_poop

Meeting Bloggers

A huge part of the fun of blogging, at least for me is connecting with a whole bunch of different people from all over. We discuss things on each others’ blogs; argue about stuff; give and receive advice; find out about one another’s’ families, jobs, friends, life; share photos; exchange ideas — have a laugh.

Sometimes I find bloggers with whom I seem to have a real connection. We have a lot in common – the virtual conversation is easy and fun. Maybe we go on to exchange emails or connect further on Facebook. Maybe we even have a telephone conversation or two.

You’re in touch with these people almost every day. Sometimes you tell them things you don’t tell anyone else.  Inevitably you’re going to want to take the relationship to the next level, as they say.

This Saturday I had the privilege of meeting up with 18 other Ottawa area bloggers for brunch. A few of us had met previously, but most of us were strangers except in the blogosphere. We had an Ottawa bloggers brunch a few months ago as well, but with a smaller and almost completely different group.

It’s so fascinating to have an actual conversation with someone whose blog you’ve been reading forever. Unless you’ve seen their photo they never look like you pictured them looking and most of the time they’re not even like you imagined them being.

You form an image of their personality from their blogs, but they can surprise you. For instance, Nat comes across as very philosophical,  staid and laid back on her blog; but in real life she is one crazy-haired ball of energy — interesting and fun, while still maintaining her philosophicalliness.

Jobthingy, on the other hand, I was expecting would be dancing on the table before the second round of coffee, but she was actually very subdued compared to her blog image. Maybe she gets wilder later in the day?  I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to her or to The Maven because they were way at the other end of the table but they seemed to be keeping the conversation going pretty well down there. And I did get to hug them both.

I also didn’t get to talk to Alison or Meanie very much, but they had been wanting to meet each other for a while, so they had a lot to talk about. Alison is a lot taller than I thought she’d be, but otherwise the same lovely, strong, funny person she is on her blog. Meanie, I’d met very, very briefly once before and is just so adorable it’s impossible to imagine her puking up Doritos.

I managed to talk to everyone else for at least a short while — except Jo, who always seemed to be talking to someone far away from wherever I was at the time.

David requested more cleavage from the female participants next time. Zoom and the GC were very late (we didn’t ask) and sat in the corner snogging, eating, snogging, talking and snogging. Everyone at some point mentioned Robin’s fabulous photos. Newsguy Bob was working, but flew in, scarfed down some food and flew back out so quickly I only managed to get a very blurry impression of him. And while he was there his Blackberry wouldn’t leave him alone. Guillermo was charming, though anxious to get back to his family whom he’d abandoned at the Santa Claus parade, in the cold. Hella Stella and Lynn found out they had a lot in common and, I think, swapped photos of their “children”, human and canine.  A&J are as cute as we thought they’d be and can’t imagine how their neighbours could be so mean to them. And Woodsy, who I have also met before, I just want to run away and elope with.

Next time perhaps we’ll manage to combine the people from last time with the people from this time and maybe even add a few others to the mix. (If you’re an Ottawa area blogger and would like to be on the mailing list for the next Ottawa Blogger breakfast/brunch, send us an email at bloggersbreakfast@gmail.com. Please include a link to your blog.)

As I mentioned, I wasn’t too happy with Saturday’s venue – the food took FOREVER to arrive and the really, really long table was not conducive to good mingling, so we’re on the look-out for a place that maybe has some round tables in a cluster and/or an environment that encourages wandering around. And it should be fairly central.

Anyway, this post is just to say how great it was to meet everyone.  And, to see if anyone else out there has regular events – formal or informal, large or small with bloggers in their area and how they’re organized. What do you do? Where do you go?

Sometimes I’m ashamed to be human

Just the other day Woodsy posted a lovely photo of a young red-haired boy on her blog because she happens to have a weakness for young red-haired boys.

Today, I read this in the news. Canadian teenagers spent Thursday assaulting red-haired people just because they happened to have red hair. There’s a Facebook group called Kick a Ginger Day which originated in Vancouver. It quickly gathered over 5000 members.

The kids got the idea from an episode of South Park which claimed that “redheads are soulless and inherently evil” and that they are “nasty” and “born with a disease.”

November 20th was designated as this auspicious occasion.

So, redheaded kids all over Canada (especially western Canada) were kicked and beaten on Thursday and mocked for being “soulless, evil, diseased and nasty.” Most didn’t even understand what was going on until later in the day. Many ended up in hospital.

 All over BC and Alberta redheads were swarmed and beaten by gangs of their fellow students or just randomly kicked as they went about their day. In BC one kid talked about how he kicked 80 times during the course of the day.

 Other redhaired kids who were wise to the Facebook group stayed home from school out of fear.

 This past week was also International Bullying Awareness Week.

“It was all a joke”, non-redhaired kids are saying. 

 Police, however, are treating this as a hate crime. Kids have been suspended from school and in some cases criminal charges are being laid.

It’s all exceedingly creepy. We can blame South Park, but it’s clearly just a TV show about animated idiots who do idiotic things that no real human being does?

How does a kid’s brain go so quickly from watching this cartoon to deciding that because the cartoon makes some random, idiotic statements that it would be a fun joke to savagely beat up your friends and classmates?

And we still pretend to be stumped as to how easily Hitler got so many people to jump on the Anti-Semite bandwagon; or how ignorant 19th century Americans were to treat their fellow human beings as slaves; or how some ignorant 21st century Americans still treat their fellow human beings; or how something like Apartheid could possibly exist; or how horribly some middle-eastern countries treat their fellow citizens.  Seems it doesn’t take much to get us to gang up on each other.

Some things I’ve never done

Warning: This is NOT a meme – just an honest sharing of information.

 Okay, there are obviously an infinite number of things I’ve never done, but these are some that I reckon most, or at least a lot of people have done and/or will do by the time they’re my age. I think actually there’s a game called “I Never”

 where one person says something they’ve never done and everyone who’s done it has to gives that person some money or something and you end up winning by never having done stuff almost everyone else has done making you the biggest dweeb in the room. But rich. So…  

  1. I’ve never been arrested, picked up or even cautioned by the police. This may not seem too unusual to some people, but there were times when it took a lot of clever dodging and weaving.
  2. I’ve never had surgery of any kind. I’ve had a couple of “procedures,” but nothing that ever warranted a hospital stay.
  3. I’ve never broken, sprained or fractured anything. (of my own)
  4. I’ve never had an x-ray other than a dental x-ray.
  5. I’ve never been married.
  6. I’ve never been on a carnival ride other than a ferris wheel and that was enough.
  7. I’ve never had anything pierced or tattooed.
  8. I’ve never been west of Ontario. (Shameful, I know).
  9. I haven’t had the flu in over 12 years and only get a cold once every few years. (I may be due; it’s been a while).
  10. I’ve never had cable TV.

And, just to prove that this really isn’t a meme, here’s an eleventh thing I’ve never done: I’ve never had sex in a car.

10 Reasons Why It’s Good to Get Old

A lot of people I know are old or are getting old. I don’t know what it is. They’re having birthdays that are taking them well beyond middle age and on into whatever comes next. Some of them are okay about it, but some panic.

I, of course, have no experience whatsoever of getting old myself. Don’t let the grey hair fool you, I’m really still a spring chicken. I probably won’t be getting old any time soon, either.

However, I can see some real benefits to old age:

1.  You get cheap stuff. Everything has senior’s discounts and if it doesn’t, you get to raise holy age-discrimination-hell until you do get a discount.

2.  It’s easy to be cool. As long as you do, say or wear something that isn’t associated with old people, you’ll be considered cool by the young folk.

3. People do stuff for you – open doors, carry things, shovel your snow, bring you food via automobile (there really should be a pithier name for that).

4. You’ve already done all the hard stuff in life (puberty, career, kids, mortgages mating) and can just do fun stuff from now on.

5. You can say whatever you want to anyone anytime and get away with it. The more outrageous the better. People will just think you’re spunky.

6. You can stop worrying about your weight. At the rate you’re shrinking you’ll need to eat three times your body weight every day just to maintain the status quo.

7. You can stop worrying about your looks. At some point you realize the battle is well and truly lost, so you can stop fretting about thinning hair and sagging skin and age spots and wrinkles. And the most amazing thing is you start to find these things attractive in other people.

8. You remember when all weddings were gay and can’t understand why people want to put an end to that. Maybe if people had a little more gaiety in their weddings and marriages there wouldn’t be so much gol-danged divorce. In fact, everybody should be a little more gay and stop fretting about money and things they don’t have and about the world going to hell in a handcart and about other people’s business, for starters.

9. You have a million memories and stories to share and bore the socks off anyone who’ll sit still to listen. And they have to listen to you because you’re old and it would impolite not to.

10. You’re still alive and compared to the zillions of other people in the who are dead – some much, much younger than you — that makes you a winner in the lottery of life.