Remembering Aughe

Remembering my BFF today who passed away four year ago today. She was a real character. Aughe, I miss you.

Excerpt from: The Passion Prerogative

dogMy dog, Aughe, has a passion for cookies, a.k.a, dog biscuits, dog treats and dog snacks. A 15-year-old Golden Retriever mix whose muzzle has turned white and back legs have grown weak, Aughe still remains laser-focused on finagling as many of her favorite mouth-watering morsels that she can get each day. I’m starting to think cookies are the main reason she bothers to get out of bed in the morning.

My decade and a half with Augie has silently slipped through my fingers, like a thief in the night stealing my treasure bit by bit. The antics of my squirrel-chasing, trash-digging, bed-surfing companion have slowly transformed into lazy days filled with long still naps punctuated by moments of clever ruses designed to get me to the cookie jar one more time.

I can’t say I miss her trash-digging days, those occasions when she nosed the cupboard door open in the wee hours of the morning, gently tugged the trashcan into the floor, and proceeded to rummaged through it looking for a little snack to tide her over until breakfast. Waking up to find yourself ankle deep in shredded trash covered in wet coffee grounds and worse can make even the most devoted pet parent question her adoption decision. But Aughe’s look of total innocence always amused me, so I was quick to forgive her transgressions.

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

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It’s National Go Barefoot Day!

Kick off your shoes, pull out your razors (especially you ladies), and let’s go barefoot. I was born barefoot, and that made quite an impression on me. In fact, I only wear shoes when social convention dictates. (Stupid restaurant health policies!) Here’s a little snippet from a previous column I wrote about my relationship with my feet:

Bare feetThe two big dogs attached to the ends of my legs are definitely weird. In the course of any given week, these two mercurial pests can and often do vary a complete shoe size and a half, depending on their moods. Wide, ill-tempered and completely incongruous with my perfectly proportioned hands, my feet have conspired to rule my world since birth. I knew I was in trouble at a young age when my sisters slipped into pairs of perky pumps or saucy knee-boots, while my feet refused to be stuffed into anything more confining than the shoe boxes themselves, always preferring to travel al fresco. When faced with a particularly cold winter or crossing a field filled with stickers, these two cranky appendages still want to debate me on the “culturally imposed ritual” of wearing shoes. (Where do they get this stuff?) And here’s the weird part…my feet are named Lefty and Mort, not exactly the most feminine monikers for the feet of a girly-girl like me.

Let’s all celebrate National Go Barefoot Day. This could be the best holiday ever.

 

“Coots, Codgers and a Kick in the Shin”

By Patra Taylor

Because those of us who have waded into the murky waters we reluctantly call Aging stand, lean, sit and lie among the most maligned people of all time, I think it’s high time the list of words and phrases to be banned in this Enlightened ACoots, Codgers and a Kick in the Shinge should include those used to denigrate us, the year-of-birth challenged. Let’s start with “old fogey.” That’s the first one to scratch from the lexicon. Here’s a partial list of other references to Those of a Certain Age that need to be eradicated from the common vernacular: Hag, crone, frump, gramps, relic, fossil, antique, geezer, gaffer, duffer, codger, old fart, gray beard (which one is particularly insulting when applied to one’s grandmother), battle ax, dodderer, curmudgeon, stick-in-the-mud, fuddy-duddy and antediluvian. That’s right…a partial list.

Even though I personally think that “old coot” has a certain je ne sais quio, I’m willing to concede that it also needs to go. Personally, I’m not fond of “senior citizens,” which replaced “old folks” a couple generations ago. Unfortunately, the phrase “senior citizens” has been inextricably linked to a third word, “discount,” making it untouchable. Just try to get rid of the senior citizens discount and I think we’ll see the 42 million geezer, gaffers and duffers of this great nation revert to their shin-kicking, nose-punching, fire-setting roots.

Copyright © 2017 by Patra Taylor

Excerpt from: Bears, Buckets and the Care and Feeding of Yaks

Bucket ListWe all compile them. Goal lists, wish lists, dream lists…whatever you call yours…are part of the human condition in modern America. We are obsessed with chronicling all the ideas we believe will make our lives complete. Our lists come in various forms, from the on-going written ones we first began as tweeners, to the more informal checklists we keep safely in our heads.

The one thing our lists have in common is that at the very moment our sense of invincibility begins giving way to reality, they all morph into “bucket lists.” What do you want to do before you kick the bucket?

It felt great when I secured those tickets for sixth row center and was finally able to check off, “See Elton John in concert.” However, I’m not exactly sure when “Get fitted for orthotics” got penciled in, although I suspect my constant companion, Aging, had something to do with it.

Then there’s the entry on my list (definitely a holdover from my invincibility phase) that reads, “Go parasailing.” At the suggestion of Aging, I recently drew a nice fat black line

Yak

Yakety yak, don’t talk back.

through that one with a neat notation after it that simply reads, “Nope.” While the thought of soaring with the birds still appeals to me, there’s just something about a “woman of a certain age” wearing a bathing suit while being towed behind a power boat that engages the gag reflex. Besides, I think that level of thrill might violate the truce I am currently engaged in with my bladder.

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

Flipping, Flannel and Hot Flashes – Part 2

hot flashOne of modern medicine’s little mysteries, hot flashes tend to accompany the onset of menopause. For some, they can be debilitating but I’m one of the lucky ones who considers them an inconvenience. During the day, hot flashes usually leave me alone for the most part, but make up for lost time at night.

While my husband spends a little piece of his days at the gym working out, I have replaced my exercise routine with my patented Blanket Flipping Workout that results from wildly flipping the blankets on and off in rhythm with my hot flashes throughout the night. (In all honesty, some mornings our bed looks like a Jack Russell terrier has been wrestling a rabid raccoon in it all night.) This routine has proven so effective in toning my arm muscles that I’m hoping to get my BFW approved by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition as an effective cardio workout for the female masses.

 Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

Flipping, Flannel and Hot Flashes – Part 1

Flannel

It’s been a long run, but it’s time to say goodbye to my beloved flannel.

I am sad to report that my more than half-century relationship with flannel has come to an abrupt end. It sort of feels like losing a dear friend, one who has comforted me when I was cold and sick, and, upon occasion, also helped me make some memorable fashion statements. But, alas, flannel and hot flashes do not mix, and since my hot flashes have not demonstrated any intention of abating anytime soon, I must bid a fond farewell to the my beloved flannel nightgowns.

It just isn’t fair. After all the physical maladies that accompany us women through our “child-bearing years,” Mother Nature strikes again. Just when we think we don’t have to plan our beach vacations around a 28-day cycle, we get to experience these frequent and often intense reminders that we are still women, as if we aren’t already aware of the obvious indications of our sex.

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

Toes, Truths and the Meeskite Belt

Big FootTry as I might, there’s no denying that my feet are a trifle bigger and wider than the average woman’s. In fact, when I was a child, no day at the swimming pool ever passed without my mother saying, “You don’t need swim fins, honey. Not with those feet, ha, ha, ha.” No day shopping ever slipped by without her saying, “I don’t know why I buy you shoes…when you could just wear the boxes, ha, ha, ha.”

Hurtful, Mother. Very hurtful.

The sad truth is, my feet are squatchie. (Yes, it’s a real word. I only make them up when the English language fails to provide an appropriately descriptive one.)  I had my feet’s squatchiness pointed out to me again a couple of weeks ago when I was watching Animal Planet’s hit series, Finding Bigfoot with my feet propped up, of course. As my husband was making his way past me en route to the kitchen, he paused in front of the television long enough to say, “Oh look! That footprint looks like you could have made it.”

“That’s a cast of a footprint made by Sasquatch,” I protested.

“I know.”

Hurtful, Stephen. Very hurtful.

 Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

“Receding Hairlines, Big Behinds, and the Virtues of Lying”

juicy

“Do you think my hairline is receding?”

I glanced up from my book, hoping my husband hadn’t detected any trace of the deer-in-the-headlights” look I was trying my best to contain. It wasn’t so much his pointed question that struck me like a thunderbolt, but rather the flash of enlightenment that rolled across me in the wake of the question that caused me a disorienting moment of bewilderment. Could it be? Had I just discovered the male counterpart to the burning question, “Does this outfit make my buttock look big?”

Regardless of the weight (forgive the pun) we women place on the potency of the optical illusions caused by stripes, plaids, and prints when applied to our backsides, the reality is that if one’s caboose looks big it probably is big, regardless of the fabric stretched over it. A flowing yard of black chiffon offers only a modicum more camouflage than a tight-fitting pair of Spandex workout pants with “juicy” printed across the cheek area. So the question is, what good does it do to point it out?

 Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

The Age Justification

 

Falling Red Balloons

There’s great news from across the pond.

A recent survey of 1,000 British adults suggests that middle age starts much later than previously thought–at age 55. Leave it to our tea-sipping, crumpet-crunching friends to prove that 40 really is the new 20. Phew! What a relief to know that I have barely crossed the starting line on this whole growing old thing.

I stopped by my husband’s office the other day to share the good news about our giant step back from the abyss, but rather than be given an opportunity to espouse the brilliance of the Brits, I was given some personal paperwork to fill out for him instead.

“Is there a problem?” he asked me at one point. I believe my finger drumming tipped him off that I was stumped.

“I’m just not sure how to answer one of these questions,” I finally admitted.

“So, what’s the question?”

“Well…” I hesitated, “the question is, ‘What is your date of birth?’”

“Patty, your date of birth is November 8, 19….”

“No, no, no, don’t say it,” I shrieked. “That’s what I came to tell you…that my biological age no longer represents my sociological age.” With Stephen, you have to throw in a few fancy words to keep him interested. “I’ve made the decision to shave a few years off my date of birth – not with the U.S. Social Security Administration, of course, as we both remember what a hubbub that caused when my sister, Linda, did it. I figure no one else really cares but now that I have an opportunity to do it, it just feels a little weird.”

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