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

Advertisements

Naked and Really Afraid

Today is National Nude Day!

Beach sign

No nude sunbathing? Where’s the fun in that?

For the record…I’m out. The festivities for National Nude Day will have to proceed without me. Let’s just say my precarious relationship with my archenemy, Aging, has left me feeling…well, vulnerable, with all my loose parts and stray appendages prone to getting caught in slamming doors, closing windows and heavy machinery if not properly corralled. I am the first to admit it…this glorious 50+-year-old package now requires the elaborate gift-wrapping that is clothing.

Before Aging had her way with me (in more ways than one), I was already a bit squeamish about letting it all hang out due to a genetic defect from my paternal side of the family. According to my mother, who had no reason to make things up, in four and a half decades of marriage to my sainted father, she never once saw him buck-naked. (Thus the “sainted” part.) I suspect that through the years Mother sneaked the occasional snips and glimpses of those things my father kept under wraps. Engaging her vivid imagination, I have no doubt she had a pretty good idea what the entire parcel that was my father looked like.

I hope everyone enjoys National Nude Day. As for me, I won’t be the one mooning the server at the window of the local Burger King. I’ll leave that to you.

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor

The Funky What?

Patty's Logo

It’s Great Idea Friday! So here’s one all us Baby Boomers should consider. Forget your age. That’s right, just forget it. The next time some rude idiot asks you your age, just look at him as if he asked you to recite Hubble’s Law of Cosmic Expansion.*

Doing the Funky Chicken Comes of Age

The truth is I haven’t spoken my age aloud since June 15, 2004. No big deal, really. I just decided that focusing on my rapid slide through middle age was distracting me from getting things done. Age is often nothing more than an excuse not to clean the garage, parachute out of an airplane or master the intricacies of social media. So I simply made the decision not to say that arbitrary number, whatever it is, aloud ever again.

Then one day I discovered that my age was no longer on the tip of my tongue…an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of a thing.

“How old are you, Patty?” someone had the nerve to ask a lady.

After a moment of superficial thought, I replied, “I don’t recall.” It worked for Hillary.

More recently I realized that I had, in fact, constructed an enormous Rube Goldberg of self delusion regarding the exact number of years that have passed since my birth. I determined the concept of “older but wiser” wasn’t one that worked for me, not to mention the fact that I love believing the best days of my life are perpetually ahead of me rather than part of that dust cloud I see in my rearview mirror.

 Copyright © 2015 Patra Taylor

Science Alert!

Science Alert!

*Hubble’s Law of Cosmic Expansion, aka Hubble’s Law

In order to quantify the velocity of galactic movement, the law proposes an equation that states: velocity = H0 × distance with velocity representing the galaxy’s recessional velocity; H0 representing the Hubble constant, or parameter that indicates the rate at which the universe is expanding; and distance representing the galaxy’s distance from the one with which it’s being compared.

Excerpt from: “A Game of Beat the Clock and a Kiss Goodnight”

Cartoon red alarm clockBy Patra Taylor

As the dog days of summer overtake me, I like to reflect on the pleasant, yet unusual way my summer began–at a kindergarten graduation. Participating in the pomp and circumstance of five- and six-year-olds engaged in their last hurray of innocence is an activity enjoyed mainly by young, enthusiastic parents, and wise, seasoned grandparents.

Unfortunately for my husband and me, who had our final (and this time I mean it) son when we were 40-something, we’ve found we no longer identify with most of the parents of our son’s peers. Yet we are still a bit skittish about the unfolding revelation that we have a lot in common with their grandparents. Stuck here in no-man’s land, we’re sort of hanging out in the great abyss between not fitting in with one group, and not wanting to fit in with the other.

As is the way with such social outcasts, we slipped silently into the excited crowd, taking our seats in the rows lining the playground-turned-auditorium. We sat down amidst parents tugging and prodding their other children and wondering aloud if they’d remembered to do this or that for the big party they had planned afterwards. I wondered silently if I’d remembered to take my Metamucil that morning, and if McDonald’s would do for our graduation dinner.

 Copyright © 2015 by Patra Taylor

Special note: Our little six-year-old kindergarten will graduate from high school on Friday, June 2, 2017, his father’s 65th birthday. Benn continues to bring great joy to his aging parents.

“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

Defensive Driving Skills Best Learned at Home – Part 2

The next day, Jackson and I had one of those parent-child firsts. Towering several inches over me with a freshly laminated learner’s permit in his pocket, he stood next to me as we examined our newly acquired “Green Hornet,” the one and only vehicle in our expanding fleet that he’d be permitted to operate, as his father and I both prefer our vehicles scratch- and dent-free.

Since I’d prepared his whole life for this moment, I thought a few words of wisdom might be appropriate. I considered imparting that all-important “driver’s language” used by citizens acrossCUYANA - CIRCA 2001 : stamp printed in Guyana shows Burl Icle Iv America, but it occurred to me that Jackson had already audited the course from the backseat through the graduate level. I was pretty confident that he already knew the difference between a “stupid idiot” and a “brain-dead SOB.”

But then I remembered the most important gift I could give him to launch his driving career. I went to my still-unscathed SUV, opened the glove box and pulled out the driver’s ultimate weapon and handed it to him.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“Honey, I want you to be able to defend yourself when you’re out there on the streets alone,” I answered solemnly. “The first time some jerk pulls up next to you in slow-moving traffic with the volume on his stereo turned up so loud that it vibrates your car, I want you to roll down all your windows, pop this into your CD player, and crank it up.”

“What’s on it?” he asked, looking at the unmarked disc.

“It’s a recording of Burl Ives singing, Jimmy Crack Corn. When you’re on the streets, son, you have to fight fire with fire.”

As we stood there, I realized that in just a few short months, I would no longer be needed to take my little boy to school. He won’t need me to drive him to hockey practice, to his friends’ houses or to Chick-Fil-A. On the outside I was weeping, but on the inside my heart was bursting with the chorus of Happy Days are Here Again.

“Are those tears of joy, aren’t they?” he asked softly.

“Yes son, they are.”

 Copyright © 2017 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

Brains, Baguettes and a New Fangled GPS

“Did your mother make you French baguettes when you were a child?” my nine-year-old son asked me as he crunched into his favorite fresh-from-the-oven bread with his big white front teeth.French bread

I smiled at him across the dinner table. “No, Benn,” I replied sweetly. “I’m not sure my mother even knew what a baguette was.”

“Benn, all your mother had to do…” Stephen stated sharply.

That’s where I stopped my husband mid-sentence with my deadly combination slightly-cross-eyed/pinched-upper-lip look that in polite company roughly translates, “Please shut your pie hole now.”

Totally exasperated by his own inability to understand “my problem,” Stephen recovered quickly saying, “My mother didn’t make me baguettes, either. You should try a slice with some strawberry jam.”

Attention all husbands! Understanding your wife is not wormhole science. If husbands would simply apply the first rule of ballroom dancing – it’s the man’s responsibility to make the woman look good – no husband would ever have to sleep on the sofa again.

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor