This is what I tried to post the other day. Let’s see if it works this time. I apologize. I am in a Rehabilitation Center with TERRIBLE wifi and think something has uploaded and it hasn’t. Sorry. Here goes – TAKE TWO!!
This is what I tried to post the other day. Let’s see if it works this time. I apologize. I am in a Rehabilitation Center with TERRIBLE wifi and think something has uploaded and it hasn’t. Sorry. Here goes – TAKE TWO!!
There comes a time when a “click” occurs – there is no one there for me. Horror of horrors. The children are grown-ups with lives of their own. Friends come and go. Relatives mean well. Friends mean well. We all “mean well”. Bless our hearts. But, BAM, there is no one there for me. Oops. How did that happen? No matter. I will handle it on my own. WAIT A MINUTE. I am 81. How long will I be able to handle things on my own? What am I going to do if I need help? Oops.
I see the faces of older men and women when I walk and ride the bus and the tram. Forlorn. Lonely. Sad. Distressed. Somehow each one got on the bus/tram and has somewhere he/she needs to go. A doctor? An appointment? I can see the looks on their faces and the despair in their posture. And, these are not the people in Syria. These are just people sitting or standing by me on the bus or the tram.
Am I willing to go back to my home town? No. Am I willing to ask relatives for help? No. Am I willing to ask my children for help? No. Well, I didn’t help my relatives. I knew they had family to help them or money to afford live-in assistance. I didn’t help my children. I truly believed that my children needed to grow their own “survivor muscles” in order to be strong. I did not want to be an enabler of any grown-up weakness. Did I succeed? Yes. At what cost? I don’t know, but, I am not sure they will catch me if I fall. I have yet to test it, independent that I have been all of my life. In my family of origin, my sister Patricia helped Mother. Mother helped Daddy. My sister’s daughters, Debby and Becky, and my sister’s husband, Jack, helped my sister. My other sister Barbara had enough money to surround herself with live-in help. I am the only one left from my family of origin. Oops. These are some of the things that have been on my mind of late as I prepare for total knee replacement of my right knee.
Back story: Last Friday night, I went to a get-together for dinner at a friend’s home. We had a lot of fun, and laughed a lot. Dinner and wine were delicious. I called Uber to get home. When I got home, I fell. I did not stumble or trip over anything, and I was not “drunk”. My legs “gave out”. I had walked four miles that morning, and my legs just gave out. When I fell, I hit my head on the floor. No matter. I did not hurt myself – other than a bruise on my forehead. But, that is how people break hips and legs. That was one of those “a-ha” moments. There used to be Steve there to give me strength. Steve is dead. Who is going to have my back? No one. It is up to me. Oops. I REALLY won’t be able to walk. Oh, well. I will figure it out. I have a hard time asking for help. Why? I don’t know. What will I do? I don’t know. I really WILL figure it out.
This is my “plan” – Steve said I always have a plan for everything. Oops – the perfect way to make God smile. But, this is my plan. I get the “new knee”. I work on re-learning how to “walk”. I downsize to a studio in a building in an neighborhood that uplifts my spirit where I can see the Sea every day – like I could when I walked in Pacific Palisades – when I could afford the Palisades. I write books that are floating around in my head. I travel for six months in Europe on the train. I get new head shots and sing by taking voice lessons from Helena’s voice coach. I work with Maxine on getting an updated actor’s reel.
So, you see, I don’t have answers, just a lot of questions. Duh. So, what else is new? YET, I know that I believe that faith in a higher power is a basic. I believe that trust in myself is basic to helping my body and mind be the best that I am willing to help it be. I MUST be willing. I want to have good health. If I have places to go and things to do, I must keep exercising. Do more stretches. Eat fruits and vegetables. Eat salad, chicken, and fish. Watch wine intake. Drink water. Learn how to make “small talk”. Be patient with mood swings. Lighten up. Laugh more. Take risks. Don’t push the river; it flows by itself. LET GO. That is the hardest one of all. I open my hands and spread my fingers, thinking at the same time – I let go.
This was one from the heart. From my house to yours. Sending love,
Best, Jay (Thank you, Helena, for these headshots! Another one from the “shoot” in January 2018. )
I have always adored September. Things start back up and running after the summer break. New energy is everywhere- The shop owners are washing their windows and displaying new merchandise. Natives are back. Tourists are home. Kids, in class. Football, on TV. I like all of that. Especially living in Nice. Days are glorious!! Time to walk!! (I am SOOOO glad I don’t live in Hurricane Country or Typhoon Country. And to those who are, stay safe!! I make no apology for these glorious days we are having here in Nice (knock on wood!)).
This week, I walked on Wednesday (7588 steps/?? miles) and on Friday ((9599 steps/4 miles). My pedometer registers steps. It also registers miles, but only on the day I walk. I know that yesterday, Friday, I walked four miles. But, I don’t pay for the upgrade in my Pacer app, so I don’t get the “memory” for my activity. That’s OK, especially since I am glad I can walk at all with my bad knee. I really have to focus at all times. But, I have done it. I don’t know why it feels more difficult now. I don’t think my knee is actually worse because there was no cartilage left in my right knee two years ago, but I seem to be “compensating” more. It is a matter of being out of balance with aches and pains arising from the compensation. Ugh. Oh well, it will soon be over.
Surgery is coming up – a complete knee replacement in the right knee. Why am I not also doing the left one? Because it is not as bad as the right one and still works. My doctor says knees sometimes get better at working after balance is restored. So, we’ll see. But, I may have to do it in the future. OK. Just one of the “perks” about getting on in life. Listen, it is better than the alternative!!! PLUS, I still have my mind, my spirit, and my enthusiasm for all of it!! Especially here. Something new every day. And, I get to see that GLORIOUS Sea that I love!
Now, a word about “rentree“. In France, September is not just “September” when school starts back up. Nooooo. September is special. How, you ask? We are collectively in rentree. We are re-entering life after the vacation of summer, especially August – the time when shops and cafes are closed and doctors, see also ALL FRENCH PEOPLE AND EXPATS, are on vacation. But, now, we’re backkkkkk. Slowly does it. We don’t just jump into activity. We re-group, take stock of where we are, and where we are going. We think about things.
OK. I will “take stock” of where I am and where I am going. Haha. Well, I know where I am – in Nice, France!!!!! Wonder of wonders. I have NO IDEA of where I am going. Oops. So, in the meantime, I will shoot photographs while I “take stock”. First, get up. Get dressed. Walk out the door. Put one foot in front of the other. Oops, I forgot the re-charger. Oh, well. Just do without it. Don’t turn on Spotify. It uses too much battery. Keep the below-stated thought in mind. Thank you, Laura! I love it!!
YES! Lots of energy going on out here! So, take your time. Put one foot in front of the the other. Stop leaning over. Stand up straight. Good.
I love this place in the pic below. They closed for a week in August, and I really missed them. They are always baking. All day long! The smell of hot croissants baking permeates the air. Yum. I can always count on them for a fresh croissant, even on Sunday mornings when everywhere else is closed. Or a pain chocolat, if I am in the mood to splurge on calories. Just stand at the window and buy I want to take home. Not now. It is too early in the walk.
And, this is my local butcher!! THEY WERE CLOSED ALL OF AUGUST!! Ugh. I love their garlic chickens. But, now they are back, and slowly getting back up and running. This morning, the chickens are on their way up but not yet. Once they are cooking, the smell of roasting chicken permeates the air. I don’t know how these French stay so thin?
And this guy was all closed up during August. He sells music – old sheet music and piano music of all kinds. I never really went inside. I should and see what is there – collectables. How do they make a living? Beats me. Nice people. See, he is not in a hurry to do much of anything. Haha. Not the friendliest in the world, but who cares. I am not either. Plus, I don’t speak their language. That is an insult. I must get better at doing that. Note to Self!
And, the Wine Shop. A mother and daughter run that shop. This is a new fall painting on their window. Some artist had fun doing that one! I like it! But, this morning, I like it all!
And, the small market. How does he survive because Carrefour is right around the corner and City Market is next door to me? Yet, I always see people in there. That is the butcher talking to the owner. I recognize them both since I am now a “local”. Haha.
Yes! My neighborhood definitely has “personality”. Now, down the street, we see one of the daily “traffic jams”. Haha. EVERYONE double parks. So, driving around this town becomes a challenge, especially with the motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, single wheels, taxis. I am glad I learned how to drive in Gainesville, Georgia. The streets were two-lane, narrow, lots of farmers, lots of trucks, and lots of double-parking. Piece of cake in Nice.!! I am a natural!! Now, to get my French Drivers License and learn Le Code de la Route!! in French!!
OK. Moving on and grabbing an expresso “take-away” for a jolt of caffeine, and passing through the Contemporary Art Museum to Place Garibaldi. Always a lovely part of a walk.
Now, I am going to go speeding through a lot more walking because this is taking too long. As you can see, I shot a LOT of pictures on that four-mile walk and had a lot of fun! The street I walk down to get to the Sea has a lot of building happening on it – they are extending the tramway from the Port to the Airport. AND, they have been working on it for years!! It is almost finished. Wonder of wonders! So I walk through the maze of passageways they have for the pedestrians – since everyone here walks. There are also a lot of shop-owners on that street. How do they get business??? Oh, well. They must get business because they are open. Not now. Too early in the morning. the construction is just getting started.
Down the hill. Finally, THE SEA!! The main attraction!!
The Sea. The Promenade. The Arches. The Market. Breakfast. Then, home. What an invigorating, interesting walk. I am cutting this short because it is going on forever. But, listen, we are in rentree. I am taking stock!! It ALL matters. Haha. Stay safe, Everyone!!
Ahhhhh, breakfast!! and a pause for a break!
OK. It is just the middle of September! You still have time to think about where you are and where you are going. Remember:
Sorry I keep changing the name of this Blog so much. I am still having problems seeing that number 80+ in the title. I choose to be “ageless”. It is all a matter of mind control. Ugh. And, it is all part of my “taking stock”. Haha. Have a good one! And, hang in there!!
Best, Jay (another January 2018 headshot! Thank you, Helena!)
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, it is vital to “think young”, especially for me. I thought about changing the title of this blog because this one – “My80sinFrance” and “80+ in France” was not working for me. What??? Let me explain….
When I went to law school in August 1996, I was 59 years old. I graduated with my J.D. degree, three years later, in May 1999, when I was 62. Needless to say, I was, I think, the oldest person in my graduating class. Yet, I felt like their peer. What???? Yes, it is true. The first year was awkward as I tried to get up to speed with young kids. The second year, we were all so busy, I didn’t have time to think. And, the third year, we were all so happy we would be graduating, I felt young and alive, excited about the future, along with my classmates!!! And, one of the things, I did in order to keep up, is study all the things the young were wearing and doing and discussing in their free time. I then tried to do as many of them as I could get myself to do. I knew I would be working in a “young world” in which age was no factor. So, what did I do to become “ageless?
First of all, I changed my “look”. I was looking much too matronly. So, this is what I did, and it seemed to work with my head. I wore an “outfit” every day that was the same – jeans, a clean white T-shirt from Banana Republic, and a black Donna Karen blazer with the sleeves rolled up. My shoes were Steve Madden black leather platform slides. Yes!! It worked for me. The kids had on jeans or shorts and various colors and kinds of t-shirts. All kinds and sorts of shoes. And usually, a hoody or tight jean jacket. They all looked scroungy, I thought. But, I tried not to judge, and go with the flow. My thought was – I have to “think young”. I would be dealing in my law practice in a “young world” where most people were younger than I. Learn how to be young. Practice. Well, it worked! So much so that I really felt like a young person. And, most days, I did not think about age at all. Then, after I began practicing law, I dealt with all ages of people without being concerned about anything except getting better at the practice of law. I soon found out that having a law degree is one thing; practicing law is another. (Attorneys know what I am talking about!)
Then, Steve and I got married. He was 13 years younger than I was. From then on until the day he died, I was in my 60’s too, a baby boomer loving Jimmy Buffett and the Red Sox!! Then, BAM! We retired. He died, and I began getting reality check after reality check. Oops.
SO, the title of this blog has been giving me problems. I chose it because I thought it would attract the kind of reader who could be encouraged by what I had/have to say. But, for me, it is a daily/weekly reminder to me of where I am in life. Duh. Reality Check needed here!!!! I have done most of what I have done by thinking and feeling I was younger!! That worked for me! Others might call it “denial”. Haha. So, this is a dilemma. I am not sure how I am going to solve it. Probably nothing. Don’t push the river, it flows by itself —- or something like that!
For now, I am facing a knee replacement surgery in two ½ weeks. After that, I will have time to think. Maybe you have a good suggestion. Or maybe I will come up with a more interesting title that works for you AND for me while the content remains the same – me, rambling about one thing or another, such as ‘Go For It!’ or “Just Do It Anyway!!” or “Being Young is a HeadTrip!” or “Headtrips” or….. (I am open to suggestions. However, the only thing I can offer the winner is “credit”.) or maybe I will just get over it, leave it like it is, AND think young!!
In the immortal words my fellow European actress, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren
(P.S. This January 2018, I sat with a photographer – Helena A Photography – in Nice to get new headshots. This is one of them. My hair is shorter now, but the face and eyes remain the same.)
From time to time, I plan to do a thought here or there, and it will be called, “Oh, By the Way” with a date for future reference. I will also do the date the European way, (day/month/year) so don’t get confused. In other words, this is not the 9th day of February. Haha. It is the 2nd day of September. At least, the year is the same. All of it for no good reason. Just because I want to.
My “Oh, By the Way” for today is concerning this morning’s walk. You see, it is important for me to walk a lot. I did it almost every day when we were living in Brentwood, Westwood, and Encino — up at 6:00 a. m. ; out the door by 6:30 a.m.; back home by 9:30 a.m. Work all day until 5:30 p.m. Dinner with Steve until 10:00 p.m. when I would call it a day because I had to get up again at 6:00 a.m. the next morning. My walks were very important to clear my head and decrease my tension. I wasn’t doing them “because it is important to exercise”. I did them because I HAD to for maintaining my equilibrium in life. When I was younger, I would run each morning. Usually a mile or two. Nothing major, just enough to feel better about everything. I started doing it as soon as I moved to California and began getting a healthier mindset. Also, I was an actress and my body was my “instrument”. I WANTED to be healthy and resilient. My work required long hours (when I got it) and acting in general required a lot of resilience.
I have been lax of late, especially the last two years. Now, it is time to resume the discipline. The summer was too hot for me. I found a million excuses. This week, having made the decision to move into Chapter 8, I walked four consecutive days – each one a little easier than the day before. Ugh. I was “out of shape”. But, it will return if I keep at it. PLUS, I must reduce the consumption of red wine at night to have the energy to get up early, get out, and get at it!!
This week, each morning, I got up at 6:30 a.m.; out the door by 7:00 a.m.; back home by 9:30 a.m. I have a route. Straight to Place Garibaldi; down to the Port; along the Sea to the Arches; through the Flower Market; Breakfast somewhere (wherever I am in the mood for it); catch the tram; off at Gare Thiers; 4 blocks home. That covers 2.7 miles. Not a big whoop, but a start. I used to go longer distances, but I have to get legs and feet back up to speed. And, the knee surgery is coming up. I need to be in shape for my job as “the come-back kid.”
So, (this is turning out to be a long “Oh, By the Way”) this morning was better than the other three. When I start out, the city is very quiet. I usually get a shot of caffeine between home and Garibaldi. This morning, my usual place was just warming up the expresso machine and unable to do an “expresso take-away”, so I went to a new place. Most places are still closed early, especially on Sunday. By the time I got to the port, all of the early-morning bicyclists and runners were out.
Great!! It all gave me energy. AND, a gorgeous huge yacht was taking off, going out to Sea. I wanted to be on it!! So, I took photographs as it proceeded.
The Sea was outstanding today. It rained yesterday, so the air was fresh, cool, and wonderful!! Clouds in one direction toward Monaco; blue sky toward Antibes.
Yes!! And, I have a new favorite place for breakfast – Topaze NICE. But, it gets crowded if I don’t get there early. Delicious croissants that melt in your mouth; café américain and jus d’orange frais (no ice). And, un verre d’eau.
Through the Market to the tram stop; home from there.
I don’t look so hot while I am doing all of this. Oh, who cares!!
And now, I am back home, writing “Oh, By the Way”. It is a nice way to share momentary thoughts. Oh, another thought, if you decide to start walking, don’t think a lot. Just get up; put on your walking clothes; your walking shoes; get a key; walk out the door; put one foot in front of the other. Don’t think. Just do it!! You will feel better (after a few days of feeling worse), I can guarantee it!
P.S. I learned from my son Blake, just do it. Your soul requires it. (He is in his 50’s and still surfing early in the mornings while holding down 2-3 jobs. His soul requires it!) I learned from my son Craig, take it one-day-at-a-time. You can do things you think you cannot do, IF you take it one day at a time!! (He is in his 50’s and still taking things one day at a time while running a successful plumbing contracting business and winning at desert racing with a car he built himself!! His soul requires it!) If they can do it, I can, too!
All I have to do is tell someone that I am 81. Then, wait and watch. I have seen a lot of reactions, but NEVER is there no reaction at all. There is ALWAYS a reaction of some sort. Ugh. The one I like the most is shock!!! Or, shall I say, surprise. Most people think I am younger. I think it has to do with physical presence and energy than it does with physical appearance. And, that is something that you can control. It is a straightforward look into someone’s eyes. It is a vitalized smile. It is sitting up, leaning forward in anticipation of furthering the dialogue. It is an interest in what that person is saying. It is an anticipation of what’s next! It is an internal choice of choosing to live and not resigned to die. Interest. Excitement. Laughter. Not cooing over someone’s dog or cat or grandchild or …… Things people expect “old people” to do. Ugh. It is not hard for me to do because there are so many things I am interested in. And, I keep teaching myself new things. Trying to learn new programs. Saving new files. Taking photographs. Planning a next book. Moving plants from one place to another. Throwing something away. Using a new app. Studying French road signs. Reading new mysteries. Reading people’s biographies. Exploring a new street. Studying ways to create new outfits, a new look. Making lists. I LOVE to make lists and to move plants from place to place on the patio!! See where each plant likes to be the most.
TIP!! Ignore people who ignore you (because you are 81 and not long for the planet)! Direct your conversation to the people in the room who understand what you are talking about – computers, ipads, and apps!! Rave about a new app you discovered for walking kilometers – Pacer. Recommend a program for Mac and PC that lets you transfer large files with multiple photos – wetransfer.com. Or, how to delete files from Google Drive. Or some similar subject. You get the idea.
One thing I have learned since I have been in France is I must not expect ANYTHING to be what I think it should be. Like “safe”. Or comfortable. Or easy. For instance, there are few people who use dryers so you must hang up your wet clothes. And, everyone seems to live part inside and part outside. Doors are open. Windows are open. Everyone is walking or talking to his/her neighbor. No screens. Little to no parking. Lot of steps. Few bannisters. Lot of detours. Few signs. I may or may not get “notice” about something, and if there is no notice and I get in a jam, it is not easy to find a Frenchman who gives a shit or will admit he speaks a little English. Maybe, if I am nice and try to speak French. There are a lot of expats here from all over the world. And, they all seem to get along, except when they YELL. No one seems to have a gun, but people argue with vehemence. And, being 81, most people will give me their seat on the tram or the bus. The men don’t usually let me go first. They go barging ahead! Haha. Sometimes, they hold the door open for me. Oh, who cares!!
If I sound like I am complaining, I am not. I’m just saying that it is important to “keep my wits about me AT ALL TIMES.” Even when I have had too much wine. Not because it is unsafe and I might get robbed, shot, or raped. ????? No. It is because I need to be able to figure things out on the fly. Think on my feet, so to speak. Like in court, when I was dodging fly balls. Maybe that is the way it has been most of my life. But, especially, that is true for me, here in France. Always thinking ahead. “Keeping my wits about me”, as Mother used to say. Andrea said the other day that, “Everything in France is stressful”. I knew exactly what she meant. Nothing works the way it did in the U.S. or Canada. It is a different mentality. Healthy. Basic. Raw. Earthy. Rough-hewn. Free. And, if you cannot adjust, go home.
Well, I am still “adjusting”. I don’t have a dryer or screens on the doors or windows. I only have one window – in the kitchen. I don’t have air-conditioning. My radiators don’t work. The heating system in the building doesn’t work!! I use electric heaters in the winter. There IS an elevator in my building. Most of the time, it works. Things may get fixed; they may not. People in their 70’s and 80’s walk up stairs. Street parking. Maybe a valet at a hotel. Probably not. One “toilette”. Hopefully, toilet paper, soap, and paper towels. Probably not. You think I am kidding??? No.
So, it if is a “cushy” lifestyle you want, with your double-car garages, laundry rooms, and valet parking and Costco, stay home. DON’T move to France. Not that you wanted to. But, I did. And, I have given up expecting people to care that I am uncomfortable in the chair at the table or have trouble with stairs. Then, go somewhere else. We don’t need your business. Customer service? What’s that! DONT’ TOUCH THE FRUIT!! If you touch it, you must buy it.
When I moved to France, I was aware that most things would be different, but I thought that would be good for me – keep my mind alert and young. Maybe I could get back my physical strength and get my nerves to settle down. You see, I practiced law for almost twenty years in Los Angeles as a sole practitioner. And, the stress was taking its toll. When Steve and I made the decision to move to Nice, France, we both had health problems. He had just had a defibrillator installed into his body because of his heart problems, and the doctor had told me that if I didn’t decrease my stress level, I would have a heart attack or a stroke. So, we moved, knowing we would have new doctors, new systems of health care, etc. Medicare stops at the U.S. border. So, we would be at the mercy of the French medical system. We thought all of it could help us become healthier in mind, body, and spirit. And, it was working at the time he got sick. We were both happy, feeling good, writing, and loving life. When he got double pneumonia, it was his heart that gave out. The French doctors cured the double pneumonia. Today, August 31, 2018, is the two-year anniversary of his death. It has been a reflective day. I can remember it like it was yesterday.
So, today, I took a long walk by the Sea, rejoicing that I am still alive and can continue my pursuit of good health and a full life.
When Steve died two years ago, I mourned for two years. But, now, it is time to stop. When I saw that he was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, per his last wishes, two weeks ago, I made the decision to conclude that chapter in my life – Chapter 7. I have just begun Chapter 8!!! I have NO IDEA of what Chapter 8 holds for me. But, I can tell you one thing, I am not going to take it, sitting down. I am going to TAKE ACTION! Doing what? Getting my 2019 Visa, getting a knee replacement. Starting this new blog – 81+ in France. Re-editing our 15 books! Working with a Producer to get a new actor’s reel!! Getting my French Driver’s License. Doing more overnights here and there. Getting to Paris every now and then. Finding a sandy beach in the South of France without a drop off. Trying new restaurants. Buying a new iPhone with a better camera. Maybe visit Rome for a week or three.
I have so many projects – all in good time. And, you never know what opportunities will happen across my path. Time for a cliche or two – “Life happens when you are making other plans” and Steve’s favorite, “If you want to make God smile, tell him your plans”. So, the montra for today and the day after that and the day after that…… Choose life! Then, remember, “keep your wits about you AT ALL TIMES!!” Thank you, Mother.
I did not plan on starting this blog at this particular time, but here I am doing it. In my life I have started what I call “Chapter 8”. It is an entirely new chapter that began on August 9, 2018, in Malden, Massachusetts, looking at the clouds, sitting in a chair in the backyard of a bed and breakfast – with a yellow cat!! I felt the SHIFT, the kaleidoscopic shift. It is a new day! It is going to be a good one, too. You see, I am 81. Even though I think of myself as younger, the reality is that I have been on this planet Earth for 81 years. And, I live in NICE, FRANCE!! Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to realize that I am actually 81 years old and that I live in FRANCE!! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be living in Nice, France, when I turned 80, much less 81. But, here I am. And, I have been here approximately three years. But, a change has happened. A good change!! So, I plan to write about my life, dreams, thought, aches and pains as I continue to adapt to the French lifestyle during my 80’s. It is different from most things I knew in the U.S. I am different. Plus, the French mindset is different. How? Well, we will examine that together as this blog proceeds.
This is my thought – maybe I can create a world that other readers may enjoy visiting, some maybe living vicariously through me. Maybe I will give other 80+-year-old women the courage to venture out of their comfort zones and out of seclusion into life and living experiences that are new. It is not something most people think of doing after they turn 80. Haha. Well, I am living proof that it can be done! I don’t know how well I am doing it, but who cares!! I am doing it. So, here we go. “Get ready for a bumpy ride.” Haha. Who said that?