ELDER MUSIC: Singing with B.B.
A TGB READER STORY: Sexist Behavior in the Elderly Male

Small Pleasures Again

Every year or two, I write a post about the small pleasures in life. Maybe it's a good exercise in gratitude for me.

Mostly, the pleasures haven't changed much during the 15 years I've been producing this blog but with adjustments now for cancer, new ones come along and old ones are enhanced in their pleasure.

My number one small pleasure remains at the top of the list - a hot shower beating down on my back. I could stand there for hours, I think, except that after awhile I feel guilty about wasting water.

Many old people have stools to sit on while they shower and grab bars should be automatic tools in everyone's bathroom. But the bars are not always in the right place, and how many can you have.

So I've added a new procedure to my showers now that I'm not as sure on my feet as I once was: I make certain that my hand or elbow is always touching the wall. That's all it takes to keep me balanced – that, and not shutting my eyes.

Safety is important but it's that hot water streaming over me that I look forward to every day.

The murder of crows who frequently hang out in the parking lot of my apartment area. They squawk and yell and caw and I don't know if they're arguing with one another or screaming at me when I walk by, but they always give me a laugh.

Ice cream. For a couple of months, I've been off chemotherapy that disallowed cold food and drink, and I've been indulging myself any time I want.

In case you think cancer and/or chemo have no up side, I've learned from the nursing staff that they both use up energy and calories faster than healthy bodies. So it doesn't matter how much ice cream I eat; it keeps my weight up.

While we're talking about food, popcorn, in bed while watching a good movie. I like my popcorn with warmed maple syrup poured over it.

Speaking of movies, watching my all-time, favorite movie again: The Third Man. (With popcorn, of course.)

The mornings when I can get out of bed without pain. It's been going on for more than a month, it occurs arbitrarily and the doctors are working to find a cause. Meanwhile, I don't know, when I wake, if it will hurt to get up. When it doesn't – Hurray for the day!

The joy of reading a book you can't put down. It never gets old.

Driving on an old road where the trees have spread out and sunlight is filtered through the leaves. It's beautiful and for me, it is also calming. It makes me feel for a short while that everything is right with the world (when these days we know perfectly well it is not).

Sipping a nice wine over the remnants of dinner with friends while solving all the problems of the world.

I appreciate these and other small pleasures even more than in the past and maybe that is true for other elders. Cancer has limited my energy and stamina, I tire more easily and sometimes I hurt. But all these pleasures and others, too, remain.

What are your small pleasures?



Comments

Ronnie, your shower pleasure really hit home. After months in a hospital, and a couple of years in and out of nursing homes where bathing of any kind is a chore, the first thing I did upon returning home was to take a long, hot, soapy shower.....alone.

Admiring the work I've accomplished in the woods or our yard of an early morning, any summer day on which the temperature stays below 80 F and the humidity stays below 50%, reading the comics in the morning newspaper, smooching my husband's smooth cheek after he shaves, finding that my quarterly balancing of my checkbook is right on the penny, reading library books, Haagen-Dazs® vanilla chocolate chip ice cream, watching a yellow-billed cuckoo for the 15 minutes it takes the bird to down a cicada: these are some of my small pleasures.

"The joy of reading a book you can't put down. It never gets old."
Reading has been my greatest pleasure as long as I can remember. A book that's hard to put down, not so much lately. I'm concerned it is me and not the book.
What have you read lately, Ronni. Any recommendations?

Clean sheets!

Having my grandchild run up and hug me when she/he first sees me. My first cup of coffee in the morning. Getting up really early and letting the cool morning air in before the g-- awful heat starts up again; it smells so good outside then.

Books that are for me perfect I inhale. Recently inhaled, My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar. Also, The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doige, MD.

My greatest pleasure this summer has been watching our local peregrine couple, Louise and Lil Kool throughout the production, incubation, and hatching of their three eggs, then the development of their chicks and their naming, banding, and recent fledging. It was the most exciting and satisfying experience I've had in recent years.

The youngsters, Sweeney, Peaches and Freddie VanTweet (he has two names because he was named after a young hometown hero, Fred VanVleet, a basketball star whose team -- the Toronto Raptors -- just won the NBA championship recently with a good deal of help from Fred). Freddie's sister Peaches was named after the Rockford Peaches, a local women's baseball team that played during WWII and was featured in the film A League of Their Own. Sweeney was named after a journalist who worked for the Rockford Register Star for more than 30 years and died suddenly a couple of months ago. The peregrines have nested in the Register Star's News Tower for two years now. Naming of the birds was opened to the public in a contest held by the newspaper.

I was on fledge watch duty the morning the youngest fledged, just over a week ago. That was Freddie , who seemed very reluctant to take that leap of faith and who was beginning to try his parents' and the monitors' patience. Monitors had covered shifts each day from 5:30a.m. to 8:30 p.m. for ten days by the time Freddie fledged, in case any of the three flopped rather than flew. Their launching site was next to a river and above a busy street in the center of town and sometimes the chicks need help on their first attempt.

Fortunately all worked out well without rescue, but there were a couple of unsure moments for each. Watching them soar and play in the skies now with confidence and what looks to me like pure joy is more gratifying than I can explain and they will be missed when they leave the area in a couple of months. Actually, I guess this is a pretty large pleasure, but there have been several small ones too, not the least of which is when cold fronts have come through to break the heat and humidity this summer.

Your pause for gratitude was a good reminder. I get so caught up in daily struggles and busy-ness that I can forget to notice. For me, I get pleasure from visiting the progress of my garden, from feeding my chickens and watching their funny interactions, from noticing birdsong. I love checking in on the phone or email with my long-time girlfriends (girls still in our 70's). I savor a hug from my daughter as often as I can get one. I too enjoy that captivating book. A long soak in my bath tub eases my body and mind. We humans are all pretty similar, especially as we gain the perspective of many years. Simple pleasures, ahh.

Seeing my dog run, after two surgeries, brings me great joy. The fact that I have space to reflect, read and research between clients. Setting my own schedule. Sitting in bed sipping tea. Evening walks where the moon shines brightly, small kindnesses that I have the pleasure to both give and receive. Any time I can walk in a tree laden landscape. Hugs from my son and his wife. And yes, like you, every shower I take I send appreciation for the luxury of a lovely shower, and send wishes to all those who don't have this.

Now that E (my wife) got scratched by Mr. Mellow (one of our two cats and now known as Mr. BoMangles) the joke is that my poor disfigured wife lives with an unbalanced husband
(as I have the same problem as Ronni) and two special needs cats. I too like the long, hot,
shower. I'll never forget the Army and Navy days when a hot shower truly was a luxury, even a short one. I really enjoy the smell of the clean forest on our property after a night rain with a sunny morning. I'm also addicted to Hershey bars, withdrawal is impossible now. It's also nice to just remember something I set out for. B

Perfect timing. I've been wallowing somewhat in "poor me" and now I am feeling much better. You have reminded me there is so much to be glad for and "poor me" is such a waste of time. Sunshine, trees, birds, my lovely cats, my beautiful granddaughter, morning cuppas, my wonderful friend, and delightful acquaintances. And, a hot shower.
o/

Small Pleasures

I love making my own latte in the morning with an espresso machine which still works. Love that smell! Nowadays I have to drink non-dairy milk. I’m so grateful it’s easy to obtain. I whip it after microwaving then pour in the espresso. So nice.

I enjoy the homemade oatmeal I have in the morning with fresh fruit. While preparing it I reflect with gratitude that I am able to buy and prepare that healthy food.

Books on CD are wonderful. Thanks to the library I can get them and “read” books in the car or while I’m falling asleep.

Computers allow me to enlarge text and connect me to the world I choose to inhabit: science, nature, kindness, friends.

These may be small pleasures but they are very big in my daily life.

My mornings! I am up very early (alarm is set for 4:25, but I am almost always awake a few minutes before) and I have set up the drip coffee maker and put out my gym clothes, so I am kind of on auto-pilot for the first five minutes or so. Once I'm dressed and have coffee in hand, and am settled on the couch, I pull out my tablet, hit the icon for the morning paper (local) and take my first sip of hot coffee. I have almost an hour before I need to get in the car, drive to the gym, and meet my gym-rat homies. Everything is right with my world. Anything seems possible.

I look forward to climbing into bed and before falling asleep playing Words with Friends for several minutes. Then, even after 10 years retirement, I still appreciate not having to awaken at 5:30 to prepare for a 12 hour workday. . .it seems like such luxury. . .even though I may wake up at 5:30 any way! Taking a nap and having my cat crawl under the covers and snuggle up.. A telephone call from my distant son. That first cuppa coffee in the morning. Listening to an engaging book on my i-phone while taking a walk. And, of course, that hot shower, particularly since we were without hot water for a couple weeks waiting for our house to be re-plumbed.

Today my favorite thing is a tree ripened peach from the farmers' market. Peaches are in season and they are delicious. Tomorrow's favorite thing? I don't know.

How wonderful to read all these gratitudes. Some time in the late morning yesterday, I found a scrap of torn paper in my pocket with a sort of jumbled list. 1)the sunlight on the kitchen floor 2)last night's rain 3) putting on my wet boots.
It had been written several days before during a tough day. I'd wanted to notice things that, whatever else was going on, made me feel a little joy bubble. The funny thing is that, several days later, reading the words, I felt the little fizzy joys all over again.

An old piece of clothing that still fits,
A cup of coffee in which the cream and sugar are in the correct ratio and it tastes like coffee.

So many, many things for which to be grateful! Small, and large, I take them out of my memory bank, dust them off, and smile, remembering.

I especially remember dear friends, most of whom are no longer living (I am 80, and outlived most -- ) They are all very special, and now, sometimes their children come to my retirement home to pay me a visit. I don't doubt that they are doing so as a tribute to their own moms, and that, too, is nice.

One VERY special friend, had these letters etched above her fireplace: LIDGTGTFTATIM. Of course, I had to ask what they meant. After she went to live with her son and daughter-in-law I needle pointed those letters on canvas, had them framed and took it to her as a shared memory. When she moved to memory care, they took it with them to be in her room, and once she passed, they gave it back to me thinking I should have it. I love it, and it is now above my bedroom window where I can see it every morning as I open my eyes.

The meaning? LORD, I DO GIVE THEE GRATEFUL THANKS FOR THE ABUNDANCE THAT IS MINE..."

It is a reminder to me to count the many blessings I do have. "--- and I fall asleep, counting my blessings..."

Thank you for you........and your sharing spirit.........especially today.

A good book.........Leonard Cohen singing anything while I'm driving...........popcorn with butter and warm honey is a wonder..........or a nice zinfandel with nuts and a little cheese......laughing and sharing with a beloved longtime friend.........a great grandchild hugging me tight and saying "I love you too much!"

And again........for this place to come together.....in this fraught time........

Ann

I am so grateful to be able to get up 5 days a week and go to the local Senior Center for a vigorous one hour work out! While there I get to chat with friends and acquaintances - sharing our ups and downs. And of course, hearing the door of my apartment burst open and the voice of my delightful 9 year old grandson and his new silly puppy!

LORD, I DO GIVE THEE GRATEFUL THANKS FOR THE ABUNDANCE THAT IS MINE... Margo, that brought me to tears. I love poetry, write a little.

I have found joy in simple things
by Grace Noll Crowell

I have found joy in simple things
A plain clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof over my head,
And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.

I have found such joy in things that fill
my quiet days: a curtain's blowing grace
A potted plant upon my sill,
A rose fresh-cut and placed within a vase,
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I have long loved beside me there.

Thanks as always for your insights, especially the warm maple syrup on popcorn........

Small pleasures are the foundation of happiness whatever else may be occurring in life, I think, including engaging with others in this little corner of the blogosphere. Grateful my mind and senses still function at a level to allow me to continue living in my home though no family nearby, or close friends who have long since died, moved away, but mostly both. Occasional unexpected phone calls and conversation with caring others creates delight. Enjoying real time nature in my community, also the vicarious offerings via audio/video sources bringing joy, memories in some instances, as does music stimulation. Reading at will from sources with a world of ideas and stories can capture my imagination, distracting from some of life’s less pleasant aspects. Simply engaging in what I want to do, or not do, when I choose.

That first coffee in the morning. The wine at the end of the day. My two happy in moderation, addictions. Long walks with my dog. A good book. Where the Crawdad's sing and Educated. Conversations with friends. Time with my husband. Reading these posts.

Karin

I have many small pleasures, but the one that comes to me right away is waking up and being able to stay in bed as long as I want...and maybe even going back to sleep. As you might imagine, I am retired. I am pretty active, so there are mornings I do need to get up right away, but on some mornings staying in bed longer is a definite pleasure.

Getting up at 6:00 am so I can read the newspaper and TGB with a cup of coffee before my husband wakes up and needs care taking.
Always end my day with a good book in bed.
Taking my book to the community pool to enjoy some sun (my unhealthy vice) while hubby naps at home.
The wonderful ripe peaches and tomatoes from our garden.
Spending time with my 12 and 9 year old grandkids before they get too old to find me enchanting and entertaining. Currently teaching them to play poker.😊
My favorite meal: A bag of popcorn.
Guilty pleasure: Watching Judge Judy.
Did I mention a toke from my homegrown cannabis?

~~ Thankful for sunshine pouring through the window.
~~ Grateful that I feel fairly comfortable sitting here today.
~~ Blessed that my husband has slid into the role or my caretaker, with nary a complaint.
~~ Glad that one daughter who lives nearby has set me up with a large desktop PC and that she is only a phone call away when I need help. I think of her as my Computer Tutor.
~~Thrilled to receive a dozen new emailed photos of our 3 great-granddaughters who live far, far away.
~~ Thankful that my vision has not deteriorated to the point that I cannot enjoy the book of short stories that hubby selected for me at the library this weekend.
~~ Looking forward to an appointment tomorrow with a doctor who once expressed a
wish to be a "rock" for her geriatric patients.
~~ Glad to be alive with a mind that has not failed me much, so far, knock on wood.
~~ Oh, happy to be alive today at my age. It could be worse.

My small pleasure?
Reading your words, wishing I'd done so sooner.
SO glad you're still here.

Reading these comments with tears in my eyes. So much to be grateful for in my life. Making a major change in my life in the next few months. Many changes will occur. Time to finally retire at 71 and walk the beach on a daily basis. So grateful to live near the ocean and the mountains, the lakes and rivers, in my little bit of paradise. Thank you all for sharing. Ronni, I look forward to reading more from you. Simply wonderful!

Oops, just lost my post. So I'll skip most of it and just add one special pleasure. I love to see babies. Whenever I'm out and come across one, I make it a point to go over and look and coax a smile if I can get one.
And, of course, compliment. There's something about the innocence and possibilities that make me feel good.

Ronnie -- tell us some of the books you couldn't put down. Fiction or non-fiction, doesn't matter.

Hi Ronni. From Sicily. Travel with Helen is my pleasure. Yes, we are slowing down and will run out of time, money and energy someday, but this is our thrill and we are grateful--memories created for later.

I love a hot lavender bath with candles. Other small pleasures -- open windows during the summer when the temps are below 80 degrees; an ice cream/gelato ice cream cone OR vanilla milk shake with whipped cream & a maraschino cherry OR a vanilla sundae with strawberry sauce with whipped cream & a maraschino cherry (my ice cream theme! LOL); a walk outdoors; eating outdoors and just being outdoors every day especially in nature.

Lovely. Just thinking about small pleasures shifts the mind & fills my heart with love.

Thank you Ronni!

I love the sound of the rain

I also love popcorn... but maple syrup??

I need to know how to do this.

Do you just pop the corn, no butter?
warm the syrup ( how much?)
and pour over??

sounds divine
AND I am in Ontario, Canada land of maple syrup

Grinding my dark roast coffee beans early in the morning.

Cracking an egg into my trusty old cast iron frying pan.

Your entire list.

Plotting elder anarchy (seriously!) with a press release coming up.

Going back on stage again next week and enjoying the rehearsals so very much. An unexpected delight at 76. I am in the eldest in the cast. By far.

Daughter taking me out so frequently "for an airing" and we laugh so hard at this.

Adult working Grandgirl writing to me recounting her new life as a researcher and adulting tenant in a smashing new place.

Thanks for these timeouts to reflect as I was in a lot of pain today.

XO
WWW

I love this.
Was thinking about you today. I hope you're doing well.

Springtime frogs singing at night in the pond across the way. A big hug from grown niece who greets me with, "Hello, my darling." A very cold bottle of non-alcoholic beer on a warm summer afternoon. Any time I am able to breathe deeply without too much effort. My big old tabby cat snuggled against me as I rest in afternoon.

My old fashioned clothesline! When the weather is good I dry my sheets on the line. There is nothing better than the smell of sun dried sheets. I look forward to climbing into a freshly made bed and sleeping with the smell of sunshine.

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