Loretta's Countdown to 60

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Category: blog (page 2 of 19)

April 30, 2012

That morning John said goodbye and headed home to take care of some business. He wanted to make reservations at his favorite place in Pismo Beach for my upcoming birthday, and said he had a few other things to attend to.

We were so happy.

The night before, John told me he loved me just seconds before drifting off to sleep. We didn’t speak of it the next morning, but there was joy surrounding us we could both feel.

And it felt good.

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Meeting the family

When John finally asked me to be his girlfriend in March 2012, I thought everything would be so much smoother for us from then on. After the last eight months of just friends to quasi dating I was sure things would settle down.

And they did, for a while.

The very first thing he did was to introduce me to his family. John wanted me to meet his Mom. She lived just 25 miles from the little town where I was born, and had never been back to since leaving with my family at age two.

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Figuring out which want will win

For several years now, I’ve had numerous people tell me I should write a book. They read or hear stories of my life, and then proclaim I need to write about it.

I usually smile and say thank you, but inside, my only thought is, “I don’t know how to write a book.” So I don’t do anything with their advice.

From the time I can remember I’ve taken most people’s counsel to heart and even felt a sense of “obligation” that I should follow through with their guidance. Which for most of my life has created a sense of pandemonium in my brain.

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What do I want? Trying to find my way in 2019

Yesterday I shared an Instagram post that I thought I’d share here.

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You’d Think Boys Would Know How to Hunt

This last weekend I shared a post about a hike up El Toro with My John. I mentioned he grew up at the base of that hill and had many escapades to share. Here is an abridged column he wrote that I think you’ll enjoy.

top of El Toro

“You’d think boys would know how to hunt” by John P. Gavin

Who has read the book Lord of the Flies?

When I was in school it was pretty much required reading. It was written in the 50’s by William Golding and is the story of a group of young boys marooned, without grownups, on an island somewhere.

In the book the boys quickly revert to a feral state and run about howling, fighting and wielding crudely made weapons. I remember reading it in class and thinking “what’s the big deal? That’s no different from my neighborhood”.

Not to knock Mr. Golding but the boys in my old neighborhood did not require an island without grownups in order to channel our wild side. All we needed were the orchards and forests at the edge of town – and a little imagination.

My neighborhood was bordered to the west by a small mountain that had been named El Toro by the Spaniards who discovered it (under the feet of the Chitactac Indians who were already living on it). To the north of us was a large walnut orchard that also bordered El Toro.

We virtually lived on that mountain – we knew all the big trees, open spaces and trails. One particular trail we knew of was travelled by a herd of deer that used it to get down to the orchard. They would then pass through the orchard to drink from the pond that lay beyond.

We were familiar not only with the trail, but also with the time of evening the deer would come down it. In our grubby hands this was dangerous knowledge. I still remember the summer day we sat in Dave Mead’s garage talking about what our next adventure (the word ‘mayhem’ would work equally well) would be when one of the guys blurted out “Let’s hunt the deer in the orchard!”

To us an idea like that one did not require any discussion further than working out the details.

My little brother Brian asked, “What will we hunt them with?”

Someone shouted “Spears!”

Dave’s brother Richard wondered aloud “Where do we get spears?”

My response was “We make them”.

“Out of what?” Patrick Black asked.

“Knives tied to broom handles,” I said.

Brian wanted to know “When do we get the deer – on their way down the orchard or back through it?” On their way back from the pond we decided – figuring they’d be less wary on their second trip through the walnut trees.

And so we set off to our respective homes to steal knives out of drawers and cut handles off of brooms. The plan was to meet at the edge of the orchard about the time the herd of deer would pass through on their way to the pond, and then quietly filter in among the trees so as to be in place when they made their return trip.

To this day I still remember shouting, “Get ‘em!” as the deer made their way back toward El Toro. Out jumped five running, shouting, spear wielding boys; and as the terrified deer spotted us they all bolted in unison. I launched my spear, as did the others, hoping it would fly true and hit its mark – a big deer charging past me.

I didn’t hit my target that day in the orchard. None of us did. Heck, we were little kids with kitchen knives tied to broom handles – what damage were we really going to do? I think all we accomplished was scaring the daylights out of a bunch of deer – well maybe that and the realization all we truly wanted to do was follow them around.

Birthday Bash

Birthdays are a big deal to me, but you probably already know that. And without trying to state the obvious, this next one is perhaps the biggest in the deal department yet.

I can only remember one birthday party as a kid. Just one. I may have singled this one party out, but I doubt it. The reason it may stand out the most is that was also the occasion that my younger brother, Brian, decided to stand on the fence and pee in front of my friends.

I was nine and mortified.

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Hiking to the top of Inspiration Point

Yesterday I declared 2019 to be the year of the hike, and I jumped off the lily pad.

One of the best reasons to share my intentions with you is I’m then motivated to see it through. Thank you for that.

So in the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is, John and I went on a hike up Inspiration Point.

If you ever visit Santa Barbara, I highly recommend this hike.

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Climb every Mountain, Ford every Stream….

Here it is 2019 already!

I say that every year…well, not the 2019 part but the “already” part. I’ve heard the older you get the quicker time goes, and I have to agree. 

Last year just flew by.

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of getting to 60 feeling like I had my shit together. Or as my husband says, I want to “have all my shit in one sock.”

So here we are, January 1, 2019 and in just over five months I will be hitting that 60 mark head on. I’ll admit it still freaks me out. Sixty just sounds so much older than 50 something.

Even my granddaughters commented that 60 is old!

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A Birthday to Celebrate

Thirty-five years ago today, I woke up at 6am and it started.

Just like the book said, the very first sign of ‘delivery day’ came, and I knew I would be meeting my first child that day.

Everything went like clockwork and by 2pm his father and I headed to the hospital. And at just before 5pm we met our son for the very first time.

Adam was born on Dec. 30th and I took him home on Dec. 31st…New Year’s Eve. Only he wasn’t Adam then. We had named him Christopher Adam, but when I got home and looked down at his little face, I started crying and said, “His name isn’t Christopher!”

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Have you ever created a “vision board”?

Vision boards became popular years ago during the Law of Attraction craze and even Oprah shared them on her show. Which is where I first heard about the idea.

Oprah has been my idol for so many years, I’m pretty sure if she said rubbing dirt on my face would make all my dreams come true, I’d be asking just which kind of dirt I needed.

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Missing out

Wow two weeks of being sick kicked my butt! I feel like I missed the holidays this year because of it.

Isn’t it interesting that there are so many expectations at Christmas?

We are supposed to be happy. We should be with family or friends. And we must exchange gifts! What feels so odd is, if those things aren’t happening, then somehow we have “missed out”.

That’s how I felt anyway.

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Beats the alternative… (repost)

I’m sorry, but getting older sucks.

Yes, I know, you hear so many of us touting that it’s wonderful and amazing and enlightening and empowering but in all honesty, I’d take my 20 something year old body, over my 58-year-old body any day.

The other day, I plucked a black hair off my chin that was at least an inch long! First, how did that happen? And secondly, how did I not see it until it was an inch long? I think the biggest reason our near-sightedness gets worse as we age, is so we don’t see that sort of thing on our partner’s face.

That and all the wrinkles.

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A gift of the present

It’s Sunday night and I wanted to write a little more of my story, but John just left and I’m feeling lazy.

I was in Oregon last week and got back just in time to see John on Monday night before catching the train back home Tuesday morning.  He worked all week away from home, and got back Thursday night late.

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A Love Story

Right after John asked me to be his girlfriend, he wrote this column for the newspaper. It is still one of my favorites. (You might want to grab a tissue for this one).

A Love Story

My Mom and Dad were married for a very long time.

And it can happen – when a man has been married for a long time – that he becomes a bit low-key in the ways he shows his wife how special she is to him. After enough years of marriage we guys can misplace our flare for the dramatic, and we can underwhelm when just the opposite is called for.

Upon the approach of my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary I think that might have been where Dad was headed. Not that that would have been an unforgivable thing, just the opposite really. Mom would have been happy with whatever he did – but then she’s like that. She was happy to be married to the man she loved – if he remembered an important date, well, that was icing on the cake.  Continue reading

Will you be my girlfriend?

What does that mean, girlfriend?

On March 21, 2012 John asked me to be his “girlfriend”. I had no idea what that even meant to him.

I’ve used the term “girlfriend” casually and never thought of what it meant to anyone else. To John it was a big deal. It was a step towards “forever” and his experience with forever wasn’t a good one.

I’d met John eight months earlier, and I can say that the best thing that ever happened to us…for us… was the fact that we became friends first. Once the pressure of the possibility of a romantic relationship was taken off the table, we both relaxed and stopped acting like peacocks looking for a mate.

There was no need to try to impress the other in hopes of “pick me”.   Continue reading

You can’t have spring without going through winter- part 2

I walked back into the bar and up to John. We looked at each other and then held each other, crying. It was all so sad.

We talked as John walked me to my car. I told him I thought what he did was “shitty”. He didn’t like that word at all. It was odd, he just didn’t want me leaving thinking HE was a shitty person.

We said goodbye to each other and I headed home. That night I cried.

I cried for the loss of “us”. After all of the relationships I’d been in, and through each failed attempt, I’d learned more about myself and who I wanted in my life. I could see us fitting together.

But apparently John couldn’t. 

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You can’t have spring without going through winter

I’ve clearly been dragging my feet about sharing this next part of my (our) story. But here goes…

It was February 2012 when I had the unfortunate incident with my co-worker at the winery. It was also that incident that got me to pick up the phone and call John.

I knew I wanted to tell him and get his support and I’ll admit, even a hug. Which is exactly what I got.

Over the next three weeks we talked almost every day. We played tennis and hiked and went to coffee and dinners together. Just like we used to.

He was still busy driving back and forth to the valley to get his house ready for the new tenant. But most days we were doing something together.   Continue reading

Hiking Arizona – a trip to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Lake Havasu – Part Three

Part three: Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City sits on the Arizona side of Lake Havasu, which is part of the Colorado River. It is a fairly new city that started out as an Army Air Corp rest camp. In the late 1950’s Robert McCullough purchased land there and by the early 1960’s established Lake Havasu City.

McCullough wanted to attract visitors to the area and purchased the London Bridge for $2.5 million from the city of London when the bridge there was replaced in 1968. Stone by stone, the bridge was disassembled and shipped to Lake Havasu to be rebuilt exactly.  Continue reading

Hiking Arizona – a trip to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Lake Havasu – Part 2

Part two: On to Sedona

The next morning I felt worse.

John asked if I wanted to go get coffee and breakfast but then, seeing the look on my face, said he’d go get coffee and bring it back to the room for me. I just wanted to stay in my comfy nightgown and sweater and look at photos from the day before.

It was fun going through all of the photos taken from my Canon, as it did a great job capturing the beauty that is the Grand Canyon. After a couple of hours, I felt a little better so we checked out and headed south to Sedona.   Continue reading

Hiking Arizona – a trip to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Lake Havasu

Part One: The Grand Canyon

My husband, John, travels to Arizona for work every couple of months or so. I’ve tagged along with him a few times, but this last week while he was busy working in Arizona, I was busy helping my daughter in law.

It was the week before Thanksgiving and John wasn’t going to be finished with work until late on Friday. So we decided since he was already there, I’d take the train from Santa Barbara to Flagstaff and meet up with him.

I like traveling by rail and thoroughly enjoy Los Angeles Union Station. Built in 1939, at a cost of $11 million, it still looks as grand as it did back then.   Continue reading

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