What? Are you still wearing pantyhose?

32999997 - women's legs in various tightsWatching yesterday’s Easter parade of dresses and skirts (and hats), I noticed that I seemed to be the only woman wearing pantyhose. The ladies would be all silk and jewels to the knees and then . . . bare legs. It’s a trend. It’s the style. I personally think if your legs aren’t slim and shaved, toned and tanned, they’re not that attractive. I know how incredibly comfortable bare legs under a dress can be. So free! And believe me, I know pantyhose can be a literal pain to wear. I know the movie stars are doing it, but they’ve got personal trainers and leg makeup.

Today’s pantyhose are a great improvement over what I grew up with. I remember the days of separate stockings you matched and hooked to a girdle or garter belt. (God forbid your butt should jiggle.) Picture trying to hook those things up after gym class. Once hooked, you had these hard hooks pressing into your thighs all day and a gap between stocking and foundation garment that felt cold and weird. If the wind blew your skirt up, the whole apparatus showed. Embarrassing. Yeah, yeah, I know all about guys thinking stockings and garters are sexy. As my mother would say, bullfeathers. They’re miserable. Good riddance.

The first pantyhose arrived when I was in high school. But they were not exactly perfect. I have horrible memories of my pantyhose being so tight they split at the crotch or so loose they were falling down all day. And like their separate stocking predecessors, they “ran” if you looked at them. We painted the runs with nail polish to stop them. If we were wearing the stockings at the time, the polish stuck to our legs, which felt just lovely, and of course we didn’t want anyone to see the run or the polish. With pantyhose, if you got a run in one leg, you had to throw the whole kit and caboodle in the trash.

But they got better. Sizes became more reasonable, the material more durable, marketing more clever. Remember L’Eggs, the stockings that came in plastic eggs that were great for craft projects and Easter egg hunts? What happened to L’Eggs? (Amazon has them!) What happened to our legs that we suddenly decided bare legs were acceptable for more than beach parties and picnics?

I surveyed some friends about whether they wear pantyhose anymore. The answer was overwhelmingly a vehement no. A few samples:

Jo Byriel: No! Not for 15 years! You know a lot about yourself when you admit the pantyhose that used to live in your dresser drawers have been moved to your tool box! Good for many projects!

Martha Behnen Embley: No to pantry hose! I’ll use fake tanner if I need it in the summer.

Cecilia Ward: My ninety-year-old mother does when she goes to church. I believe she does so because it’s what she has done her whole adult life–as if pantyhose are part of her go-to-church uniform.

Courtney Meek: No!! Because they itch and when I did wear them I was running out of cheap hair spray or clear polish every time I wore them.

Cheri Lasota: I just can’t do it. Sooooo uncomfortable. That said, I do adore thicker tights (as a stand-in to pants) under longer shirts.

Jean Leonard: Hate them!! Always was a workout getting them on and they were very uncomfortable!!! Will wear the thicker tights occasionally, especially if it is cold.

Dale Bryant: Now that I’m retired, I never wear skirts, so no reason to wear pantyhose. I did occasionally wear them to work–so much more comfortable than the contraptions that preceded them. Also, I do like to wear knee-highs when I dress up to the extent I do, but they’re very hard to find.

Stephanie Raffelock: Pantyhose always made me feel like a sausage.

Adrienne Knoll: They are almost nonexistent in the stores, especially for those of us that are tall (over 6′). I like to wear them when I really dress up, as I did for my wedding a year and a half ago.

Lacie Semenovich: I do if I’m wearing dress shoes (not sandals) with a dress because I don’t like the way my feet feel in dress shoes without something covering them, and those little footie things you’re supposed to be able to wear with dress shoes do not work on my feet. I also feel a little more dressed up and formal with hose on.

Mele Martinez: My four-year-old daughter loves pantyhose.

Shari Kaplan Witaschek: I find pantyhose very uncomfortable, so I only wear it when I absolutely HAVE to! 😦 For example, if I’m attending a swanky party in skirt or dress where thigh-high or knee-high hose won’t work, and going hose-less won’t work either, then I’ll wear pantyhose. (For the record, I don’t like thigh-highs either!)

Sharan Street: I abandoned them decades ago in favor of opaque or patterned tights because they’re more fun and they don’t run. Having always had less than spectacular legs, tights are my friends.

Angie Simoes Brasil: Yes and no. It depends on my outfit and how dressy it is and also how formal the events is that I’m attending. I’ve always heard a true lady wears nylons.

Angela Jackson-Brown: I’m a southern girl from way back so yes AND I wear slips underneath my dresses too…lol

Donna Sanders: I wear pantyhose to church and formal events because my legs are older and whiter than they were when I didn’t wear pantyhose. When I had nice, slender, tan legs, hose wasn’t necessary. Sigh.

So, I guess my age is showing, but as long as I can find a decent pair of “suntan” pantyhose in my size, I’m wearing them. “Control top” a bonus.

Here’s an excellent piece from Huffington Post by Rhonda Scharf. Turns out Michelle Obama never wears pantyhose either. Me, I like my stockings. I don’t feel dressed without them.

This article from Fortune by Colleen Kane talks about some of the professions where wearing hose is required.

If you haven’t already shared it with me, what is your opinion on the subject? Do you wear pantyhose? Have you had to wear them for work? Do you feel your legs are up to the exposure?

Men, please refrain from the corny jokes. I’ve heard them all.

Happy day after Easter. It’s raining again in South Beach, Oregon.

If a Tree Falls . . . It Breaks the Fence

the

IMG_20170408_191948310[1]Yes, I heard the tree falling in the forest. It was not a crash, more of a whoomph, as a massive coast pine from the undeveloped property next door fell during Friday’s powerful windstorm. It was 8 a.m. I was washing dishes when I saw it go. As Annie and I ran out to look, the pine cone-laden tree lay quivering on the concrete behind my garage. My gutter dangled like a broken arm, and the double layers of chain link fences seemed to be twisted into zigzag patterns. It happened in an instant. To the west, a huge piece of sky was exposed for the first time since we moved here 18 1/2 years ago. Perhaps I’ll be able to see the moon better. But now I had a mess in my back yard.

The good news is that it did not hurt the structure of my house, at least as far as I can tell. The gutter and downspout are ruined, but the roof and walls seem to be unharmed. Thank God. The trunk of this tree is almost a foot in diameter. If it had hit the garage . . . It was still blowing like crazy. I flinched at every gust, wondering what else would come down.

IMG_20170407_084446728[1]
Here’s what it looked like right after the tree fell
Writing abandoned, I started making phone calls. My neighbor, just because I needed someone else to see it. My insurance company, where I learned I have a $1,064 deductible. (Why so much? Why not $1,000 even?) Perhaps it went up after the great flood of 2013. I don’t remember paying that much before. Can I afford $1,064? Heck no. Does it matter that the tree belonged to my neighbor? Nope. It’s considered an act of God, said Zach from State Farm. Sue the neighbor, my friends said.

IMG_20170408_145059574[1]
Here’s my neighbor Pat hard at work
A tree guy gave me an estimate of $500 for cleaning up the tree parts on my side of the fence. My neighbor, Pat Walsh, a semi-retired mason who hates to sit still, offered to take care of it for free. He had a new chainsaw and was eager to use it. Before I knew it, he was working on the fallen pine. While I was at church and Willamette Writers yesterday, he was also working on the tree-owner, who had not even offered sympathy on Friday. Last night, just as I was consulting with my attorney brother about small claims court, Pat informed me that our mutual neighbor will pay all of my out-of-pocket expenses. Praise God. Pat also thinks he can fix the fence and the gutter for a lot less than $1,064. I am so blessed to have him around. When I’m gone, he gives Annie her breakfast. She adores him. While I was in California last week, he also mowed my front lawn. No, he’s not single. He belongs to the wonderful Paula.

So that’s what I’ve been up to this weekend. I offer you some pictures, and I welcome your fallen-tree stories.

***

Last week, I wrote about my father breaking his leg and my dash to California to help him. Keep up the prayers. He’s still in the care home, doing limited physical therapy but spending most of his time in bed. He’s fine from the hips up, but he can’t even get out of bed by himself. Now the care home threatens to discharge him if he’s not making visible progress toward walking. How much progress can you make when you can’t put weight on a badly broken leg that is just starting to heal? Meanwhile, my brother is wearing himself out making the long drive to and from San Jose to take care of Dad’s affairs until I go back down. When? I don’t know. I jump every time the phone rings or chimes with a text. My last call? Thinking about my tree situation, Dad wanted to know if he had payed his homeowners’ insurance bill. I sure hope so.

Have a great week. Don’t stand under big trees when the wind gusts up to 60 mph.

 

 

 

On the Road to California Again

IMG_20170327_194044890
Humboldt Bay at Sunset

 

Last week didn’t turn out quite as expected, especially for my dad. He fell and broke his leg above the knee. It was a bad break, requiring surgery and an extended stay in a care home after the hospital. He has survived heart surgery and a broken hip in recent years, and he will survive this, but for a person one month shy of 95, this is not good. My brother rushed over from his mountaintop home near Yosemite while I hit the road from Oregon. I didn’t know how long I would be gone or how well Dad would recover, but when these things happen, you do the best you can to tie up loose ends and go.

Winter lasting forever up here, the Siskyous were still loaded with snow, so I took the coast route down. After nine days, I returned up I-5. It’s an all-too-familiar 1,400-mile round trip commute. But I took pictures of some things I thought it would be fun to share here.

IMG_20170327_135542394
This homemade camper at a coastal rest stop caught my fancy.

 

IMG_20170403_125501642
I saw the peanut mobile way back near San Jose and was amazed when it pulled up at the Black Bear restaurant in Willows where I stopped for lunch.

 

IMG_20170403_182849068_HDR
Dinner on my last night on the road was big enough for three dinners.
IMG_20170403_181224431_HDR
Poor George’s in Yreka, where I had the massive pancakes, ham and eggs, is an old-time diner.

 

IMG_20170327_154328316_HDR
I don’t do a lot of selfies but here I am on the coast highway.

Dad seeming relatively stable, I came home to get back to work, Annie, and taking care of my own house, but I will be going back soon, I’m sure. It’s not easy having your heart torn between two states. Meanwhile, please keep my father, Ed Fagalde, in your prayers.

 

 

All contents copyright Sue Fagalde Lick 2017

 

Why does March rain surprise us?

IMG_20150427_172305014[1]Facebook, that nosy cousin you never asked to butt into your life, keeps popping up with memories of past posts I might want to share again. Sometimes they’re too embarrassing to share, but the practice got me curious about what I was writing here at Unleashed on other last Mondays in March. Turns out this month’s rainy weather is not unusual at all. Here is a quick trip through those past posts and a few updates. Enjoy.

https://unleashedinoregon.com/2010/03/   “Simple gifts” Yep, it rains here in March. In 2017. we have had a horrid winter, with several episodes of snow and ice, but so far the wind has not been as bad as usual. My gutters are gunked up again. Rain is predicted for the next 10 days. But miracle of miracles, the blue hydrangea bushes that I was sure were dead are covered with new leaves. The robins are back, the skunk cabbage is blooming in Thiel Creek, and I saw my first trillium flowers yesterday.

https://unleashedinoregon.com/2011/03/ “Thank You, I Think.” Oh, the yin and the yang of this one. I have two amaryllis plants now. Each has leaves about two feet tall. They rarely bloom, but when they do, the bright red flowers are spectacular. What really grabs me reading this is my ingratitude. Jill Baker, who gave me the plant in question, passed away last year. [link to that post]. I miss her music and her no-BS attitude. I also need to show more gratitude to the friends who threw me that surprise birthday party only three weeks before my husband died.

https://unleashedinoregon.com/2012/03/ “I Missed the Big Oregon Coast Storm” Why is it that every March we can’t believe winter weather is still happening? Re-reading this post, I’m feeling less put-upon by the continuing rain, but I am tired of soggy shoes, and I’m itching for another trip to San Jose to see my dad. [Turns out I’m getting that trip sooner than I thought. See below.]

https://unleashedinoregon.com/2013/03/  “Hugging the Open Mic in Yachats” Dare I say that old singers don’t retire; they just take their guitars to song circles, jams and open mics in Yachats? Four years later, I am still doing song circles and open mics as well as my church music job. As for paid gigs, not so much. I no longer have the desire to play over loud crowds for a few dollars in tips.

https://unleashedinoregon.com/2014/03/ “Lost an Earring, Found a New Beach Hangout” Gosh, I’m in a rut. I’m still playing music at church on Sunday mornings, going to Georgie’s with friends for lunch afterward, and shopping at the J.C. Market. I still have those earrings, and I still do not have pierced ears. I still park at Jumpoff Joe’s occasionally.

https://unleashedinoregon.com/2015/03/ “The Dead Husband Thing.” Well, that hasn’t changed much. The other day at lunch, I overheard a woman about my age say “when my husband died . . . .” I wanted to run over and hug her. My people! The dead husband club. I know it sounds crass, but these days I feel like I need to tattoo it on my forehead: “Hey, my husband died and I still miss him. If you still have one, you have no idea how different my life is without a husband.” Okay, I need a bigger forehead for all that. It will be six years next month. Hard to believe. I sound so content in this 2015 post. I have not been feeling that way lately. Grief is like the tides. It ebbs and flows, but it doesn’t ever go away.

https://unleashedinoregon.com/2016/03/ “Tucson Festival a Writer’s Dream” I loved last year’s trip to the Tucson Festival of Books and the nonfiction workshop that followed. I loved visiting Fred’s cousin Adrienne and her husband John. I loved the sunshine, the desert, and the new friends I made. I thought about that trip a lot as I was slogging through the rain while this year’s festival came and went without me. Tucson in 2018!

So we’re up to 2017. It’s still raining. The news is still full of President Donald Trump and his crew. Annie’s still sprawled on the love seat in front of the pellet stove. And I’m still in my bathrobe at 10:00 although I’ve been up for hours.

People ask if I’m still writing. If I’m still breathing, I’m still writing.

BREAKING NEWS: My father fell Saturday and broke his leg. I am heading to California to help him. No Wi-Fi at Dad’s house, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post here. Annie will be staying home with dog/house sitter Auntie Jo. Stay tuned. Follow me on Facebook.

Art quilts paint pictures with cloth

IMG_20170312_092245669It was 1975, raining like hell, water leaking through the skylight of my 1965 VW bug. Every time I got into the car, I sat in a puddle. It was my first post-college newspaper job, the Gilroy Dispatch. I wrote features about the town of Morgan Hill, earning $400 a month for full-time work, spending $100 of that to keep my car going on the commute from San Jose.

As with most assignments, this one took me down a country road that turned from pavement to gravel to mud. I was wet and miserable, but when I entered that rustic house and saw what I was there to write about, I was entranced.This young mother made pictures out of fabric, like little quilts. They were puffy. They had layers and textures. I wanted to touch them. I wanted to know everything about how she did it.

As I interviewed her, taking pages of notes, children and dogs ran around, screaming for attention. I took pictures with my husband’s Minolta SRT 101 and hurried back to the office darkroom to process the black and white film. Unfortunately, I was only one session into my photography class when I took the job, and I ruined the pictures. I had to go back in shame with a Polaroid camera, but that gave me another chance to look at these magical fabric creations. I was a stitching fool in those days, always sewing, embroidering, knitting or crocheting. I had tons of leftover fabric, and I couldn’t wait to try this.

IMG_20170312_092425678That weekend, I started making my own fabric pictures. My first project was intended to be a yoga mat, but it quickly got too elaborate to put on the floor. Clearly I knew nothing about the nonstick yoga mats people use now, but I filled it with a stretching cat, a moon and stars, an infinity symbol, clouds and sun. Guessing at how to do it, I placed the colorful top over a layer of batting and a layer of plain muslin fabric, sewed them together and started stitching through all the layers by hand, adding extra batting to make the clouds fluffy. I made a fabric frame filled with more batting so it would be puffy, too. And I hung it over our bed with upholstery tacks. Then I rushed to make more.

IMG_20170312_092328145One of my favorites is a weeping clown face I made the year my first marriage ended. Another shows the lineup of bottles in my kitchen window years ago. A musical quilt shows a bent guitar–I had just interviewed a guy who did surreal art and thought it would be cool. Also, it fit better. You may be able to tell from the signatures that most of my quilted pictures were made in the 1970s and ’80s, when my last name was Barnard instead of Fagalde or Lick. That’s a long time ago

By now, real quilters are shuddering in horror. No measuring, no pressing, no mounting it on a proper frame? No. I was just having fun with it. I read some books, but I didn’t take a class. I wasn’t aiming to earn blue ribbons or compete with other quilters.

But many years have passed. I haven’t done much sewing lately. The closest I have gotten in recent years to using my leftover fabric was sorting it by color into boxes of blue, red, black, green, etc. In a closet-cleaning frenzy last week, I considered throwing away all of my cloth and all of my craft supplies because I wasn’t using them anymore. Maybe I never would.

But Saturday, I went to an art quilt show in Yachats, a few miles south of here on the Oregon Coast. The show, titled “Gems of the Ocean,” included quilts from all over the United States and some from other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Belgium. Those quilts were gorgeous works of art, far different from the quilts people make to put on their beds. I’d show you photos, but we were sternly instructed to keep our pictures off of social media. Too bad, but these are fine art, priced for hundreds and thousands of dollars. I can understand why the artists want to maintain control of where they’re shown.

These quilts are much more elaborate than my little projects. The artists layer cloth over paintings and photographs, piece together thousands of tiny bits of fabric, add beads, buttons and jewels, bits of knitting, zippers, and golden thread. These quilts are machine quilted, perfectly flat, perfectly squared–except for the ones purposely made round or uneven–and perfectly, professionally hung.

IMG_20170312_092225666But they aren’t puffy like mine. And you could never sleep under them. I think I might try it again. Not for show. I want it to be fun. I need someplace where I can be goofy and imperfect. Maybe I’ll take another look at all that fabric and see what pictures come to mind.

Meanwhile, here are some links where you can look at art quilts online.

“The Art of the Quilt”

“Quilting Daily”

Art Quilts Around the World”

If you find yourself on the Oregon Coast, visit the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook. Their quilts and resources for textile artists will blow you away.

 

 

Text and quilt photos copyright Sue Fagalde Lick 2017

Save

Robo-Guy Just Doesn’t Understand Me

I’m writing this while listening to “on hold” music that sounds like the record is stuck and somebody needs to move the needle. I try not to do non-writing business during my writing time, but if I wait until later to call my insurance company, I’ll lose my courage, so now, while we have sun and hail happening at the same time (craziest winter ever), I dial the 800 number and encounter Robo-Guy.

Now, Robo-Guy and I have a problem. He does not understand what I’m saying. I think I’m speaking English. I’m enunciating as hard as I can. And yet he doesn’t seem to get me. He keeps spitting out a list of choices, none of which apply to my situation. Specifically, I’m turning 65 on Thursday, I have gotten a pile of stuff in the mail from Medicare and Blue Shield and I don’t understand how the two insurances interact. Do I have a Blue Shield “supplement plan” plus Medicare or what? This is not on Robo-Guy’s list, the same list I saw online before I decided I would have to use the telephone.

Every time I start to mutter to myself, he stops and restarts his list. I must be silent unless I can say something that’s on the list. BUT IT’S NOT ON THE LIST.

I take a chance. I say “Medicare supplement.”

“Did you say benefits?”

“No.”

“My mistake.” He repeats the list.

I repeat “medicare supplement.”

He says, “Did you say benefits?”

Head slap. “Yes.” I’ll say anything that gets me to a human being.

So I get one. I immediately forget his name. Dennis? We’ll call him Dennis. I give could-be-Dennis my information. He puts me on hold. The line goes silent. Am I still connected? Oh! There he is. My plan does not show me having Part D. Part D? But he’s not the right guy, which I knew because I picked a “wrong” choice to get to a human. Would I like to be connected to the other guy? Yes.

Commence the loud hold music. I start to scribble because I am unable to sit and do nothing and the music cannot be listened to. Why is loud annoying music considered better than silence?

Oh! Dennis. He’s still working on it. Hold on.

Why not give us news, information, quizzes, gossip, the Beatles, anything but this noise? How about, this is brilliant, how about employing professional “hold chatters,” friendly people who will talk to you while you’re on hold. You could talk about anything: work, kids, recipes, the weather, frustration with your in-laws. Kind of like therapy. I think it’s a great idea, as long as they’re live people.

Hey! Dennis has delivered me to Erica, who actually makes jokes. She’s going to check which is my primary and which is my secondary insurance. She giggles. “Who’s on first, who’s on second?” She actually remembers the old comedy routine. I love Erica.

Now I’m back on hold. The music didn’t miss a beat. For anyone calling government, insurance or financial institutions, always use the bathroom first and come supplied with coffee, tea, or whiskey and something to do because it’s going to take a while.

Erica is back. I’m listed as a “PPO retiree.” Okay. Blue Shield is still my primary insurance and Medicare is secondary. Is that what it’s supposed to be? Shouldn’t it be flip-flopped with Medicare primary? Somebody who is older than me and understands this stuff, please explain in plain English?

Erica offers to transfer me to another person. I can’t take anymore. “Not today,” I say. I may be over-insured, but going into my birthday, at least I am covered. I am double-blessed with insurance from my late husband and from Uncle Sam. I know a lot of people struggle to have any kind of insurance at all. I am lucky to have had Blue Shield all these years via Fred. On my own, I’d be at the mercy of the Affordable Care Act, which our president wants to abolish.

I’m still thinking about Robo-Guy. Oddly, I feel guilty, like I screwed up our conversation. He wasn’t even real, but he sounded so real, so anxious to please yet so perplexed by what I was saying.

So, tell me about your Robo-Guy experiences. Does he have trouble understanding you, too?

***

I wasn’t going to write about my upcoming birthday anymore. So I’m turning 65. Get over it, right? Right. But let me close with two important reminders about the upcoming anniversary of my birth (Thursday, Thursday, Thursday).

1) Some of my local area friends are joining me for lunch at The Chalet in Newport on Thursday at noon. Contact me if you want to come, too, so we can get a big enough table. No presents or even cards are necessary. I’m still thinking I will end the day at The Drift Inn in Yachats, where the music begins at 6 p.m. Let me know if you want to join me there, too. In between, I might go for a long hike if the weather is decent. If not, maybe I’ll do a little antiquing.

2) The Great $6.50 Birthday Book Clearance Sale will continue through the month of March. You can buy copies of Shoes Full of Sand, Freelancing for Newspapers, Childless by Marriage and the original edition of Azorean Dreams for only $6.50 each, including shipping. That’s less than half price. The next two customers will also get a free copy of my limited edition chapbook The Dog Ate It, my gift to you. Do not go to Amazon for this sale. This is strictly between you and me and Paypal.

 

 

 

 

Turning 65: Good, Bad and Scary

On March 9 at 4:10 a.m., I will turn 65. It’s a good thing. It’s a bad thing. It’s a scary thing.

Good?

I will be eligible for every senior discount that exists. No worries about whether you have to be 50, 55, 60 or 65. Everybody gets the break at 65, although here on the Oregon coast, with so many retirees, you don’t see a lot of senior discounts because the businesses would all go broke. National Parks pass, here I come.

It’s also good because I will be free from people thinking I need to stop messing with my writing and music and get a real job. I am not retired, have no plans to retire, will write and play until I either die or lose the ability, God forbid. But for those folks who just don’t understand the artistic life, I can say bug off, I’m 65, I can do whatever I want.

Besides, the newspaper business for which I was trained has disintegrated to the point I barely recognize it. Plus, do I want to cover the news in this Trumpian era? I don’t think I could keep my opinions to myself anymore.

Not that I might not need to actually get another job, finances being what they are. (My father thinks I should get a job because to him writing still doesn’t count as work. I’m never going to win that battle with him.) I worry that young employers might think I’m too old. I’m not old, kids; I’m experienced. My resume goes back to the days of manual typewriters and black and white film, and that’s a good thing.

Bad

Turning 65 is bad because it means I’m old. I can’t deny the wrinkles, the gray hairs, or the memories that stretch back before a lot of people were born. I can deal with all that, but I wince at the thought that other people see me as old. That’s what really bugs me. I especially worry about folks who classify me as too old to write a bestseller or to play wonderful music. If I do succeed, they will single me out as an anomaly. Look at what this sweet old lady can do. Gah!

How old is old? With no kids or grandkids to mark the generations, I feel much younger than 65 most of the time. Our vision of “old” changes as we age. When you’re a kid, your 40-year-old parents are ancient. If you’re 80, looking at me turning 65, you think I’m just a kid. My maternal grandmother, who died at 80, refused to go to the senior center because it was full of old people. Exactly.

If I’m lucky, 65 is just a new beginning, with lots of years ahead, 20.2 according to most life-expectancy charts. But nobody knows. Grandpa Fagalde lived to 98. My dad is almost 95. His cousin made it to 96. I could live another 30 or more years. Or I could be gone tomorrow.

My mother had just turned 75 when she died. My husband was 73. My father’s mother was only 58. Grandpa Avina was 66.The obituaries are full of people in their 60s and their 90s. It’s all a crapshoot.

I’m moving into these older years in a great wave of baby boomers. Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Sting, and Meat Loaf are all 65. Paul McCartney is turning 75 this year. President Trump is 70, and he hasn’t grown up yet. Helen Mirren, 73, is my new idol. Check out this list of hot seniors. Here’s another one. Our bodies might be aging, but our spirits are as young as ever.

Scary?

It’s scary because I’m petrified of going on Medicare. Blue Shield and I worked well together, as long as I kept giving them $500 a month, plus deductibles, co-pays and exclusions. It was better insurance than a lot of people have, and I’m grateful that I got to keep the insurance after Fred died. Medicare confuses me, and it doesn’t help to keep hearing dire predictions about the whole system falling apart, going broke, or falling under the hyperactive pen of our new president. I have already learned that my annual gynecology exam may not be covered and my frequent chiropractic visits for my messed-up back will definitely not be covered. If Dr. S. could just put everything in place, then seal me in wax . . .

Medicare has Parts A, B, C and D and something called the “donut hole,” which is not a delicious bit of pastry but a black hole into which you fall if you collect too many prescriptions. For a few months, my phone rang constantly with folks ostensibly wanting to help me with my Medicare questions. Actually they wanted to sell me supplemental insurance plans, but Blue Shield and I will continue a reduced relationship. How much that will cost, I have no idea. How much Medicare will cost, I have no idea. Apparently I have to wait until my first paycheck in March to see whether turning 65 will be good or bad for the Lick economy. Please God, let it be good.

As a fully blossomed senior, I expect to hear more and more of the doctors’ theme song “At your age . . .” Meaning, “You’re old, so you can’t expect all your parts to work or me to waste time fixing them.” I think about my battered VW bug with its 120,000 miles and how it was literally held together with duct tape and prayers. Guess I’m lucky I still run. Not very far, but I run.

To be honest, if some young bloke offers to carry my load or give me his seat on the bus, I will accept it gratefully because my back hurts and I’m tired. But give me a minute’s rest, and I’m ready to go again. 65? Dad was mowing his lawn yesterday at 94.

You can get Social Security now, you say. No. Not yet, although I do receive a portion of my late husband’s Social Security as a widow’s benefit. People my age, born in 1952, must wait until they’re 66 for full Social Security benefits. Assuming we still have Social Security by then. Maybe we should call it Social Insecurity.

I’m also scared that I might end up celebrating my birthday alone. Did that last year, don’t ever want to do it again. All I need is some people and cake. Got to have cake. Chocolate or red velvet. Who wants to join me on March 9? I’m thinking The Chalet for lunch because it has cake and a senior discount or the Drift Inn for dinner because fabulous musician Ian Smith is playing there that night and the food is amazing. Maybe I’ll do both. Who wants to join me? You don’t have to buy me a thing, just help me celebrate.

How does turning 65 look to you, whether it’s decades ahead, coming up fast or already ancient history? I welcome your comments.