Mushy Peas Please

Mushy Peas Please

Exhibit A:

 Cream of Wheat 

Cream of Wheat 

Exhibit B:

 Rice Pudding 

Rice Pudding 

Exhibit C:

 Pea Soup 

Pea Soup 

If any of these look appealing to you, I’m sorrynotsorry to say, but you might have more in common with Mr. Gray than you think! Mr. Gray (most of the time) totally digs these softer delicacies— and shocker here– but I just happen to LOVE them too, the gloppier the better *fist pump*. Flan, yes ‘mon. Tapioca and Bread pudding, lay it on me. J to the ELLO. 

My grandpa, the OG, (“original gangster” for you anti-slangers) hated al dente veggies, particularly asparagus and would constantly complain at restaurants and specify how he did not want them cooked. I was confused by this as a teen, but fast forward to today— I totally feel ya Gpa. I don’t know when barely cooked veggies became on trend, but if I wanted to be a panda eating bamboo, I would have let the server know. 

Look, I get it, I’m probably in the minority here alongside me and my senior peeps; I know mushy food is not everyone’s cup of tea and you are likely one of those people who’s totally grossed out by weird or slimy textures, but maybe they are onto something here. Soft/well-cooked food is definitely easier on the digestive system. Convinced you yet to switch teams? No, okay fine fine….stay basic…it’s cool. 

I don’t mean to generalize seniors, but they do gravitate towards soft food for an array of reasons: they simply like the texture/taste (like me), the food is nostalgic and elicits fond memories, and/or for those with dentures, sensitive teeth/jaws, it’s just plain easier to chew.

But the main takeaway here is, whether Mr. Gray fits the senior mold, or whether he’s a crunchy-food rebel, LET MY PEOPLE CHOOSE. 

Tell ’em Moses. 

Let them eat their food mushy if they want. Let them eat it al dente if they like it that way. Let them eat it on a train, or a plane, medium rare or well-done. As adults, we all have CHOICE. Sadly, due to skilled nursing facility (aka nursing home) constraints and other systematic issues, our society flops with food choice for Mr. Gray. Sadly, we treat seniors like children:

  EAT THIS OR STARVE!!! 

EAT THIS OR STARVE!!! 

Story Time:

A few weeks ago I ran into Mr. Gray at a bar (no this is not the beginning of a joke). Ok, we didn’t “run into each other.” He was sitting next to me and after the football game ended, I started up a mildly forced conversation when he was about to leave. Lucky for meeeeee he stayed and we talked.  

  Oh heeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy cutie. Come here often? 

Oh heeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy cutie. Come here often? 

We started chatting about about his mother who recently passed away and her experience in nursing homes. What struck me most about the conversation was how he focused on the meal she ate before she died — a very bittersweet story for me; he talked about how excited she was to have a lobster roll since she was often served rubbery chicken. Now, look, lobster rolls are melt in your mouth delish, but no wonder she was elated — this poor woman (and one of many thousands mind you) was STUCK EATING DRIED UP NASTY ASSSSS CHICKEN ON THE REGULAR (‘scuse my French). 

Mr. Gray said his mom had so much trouble chewing it that he nicely asked the staff to fix it (yeah good luck with that one). So not only did she have to eat tasteless cardboard food, but then it was like passing a kidney stone to just to try to eat her darn dinner. Forget the food police, this should be plain illegal! Come on man—elderly folks have EARNED the right to eat what they want and to eat well….not the old rotisserie chicken scraps that I feed to my cat. If anything, seniors should be served more flavorful food to make up for desensitizing taste buds. 

Look, all I can say is if after years of experiencing delicious cuisines – sushi, truffle pasta, etc., and I’m forced to eat that crap, this will 100% be me:

I’ll be starting a revolution up in dat assisted living- BELIEVE THAT. 

You might be thinking, is this post really all about food? Yes, yes it is. Why? Because food is a big DEAL. We love food so much we post pictures of it, we blog about it, we plan dates around it. It’s something that matters a lot to most people- and not just because it sustains us or we try to use it to maintain our health, but because we just plain enjoy eating. It’s one of life’s most simple pleasures!

Mr. Gray is no exception. In fact, old age is the time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally!). My nanny used to eat the you know what out of Nutty Buddies, and I didn’t get it till now. You know what? She was enjoying herself, and she earned it. I’m not proposing seniors eat junk all day, but I’m simply highlighting food choice. To force grown adults (extra grown) to regress to childhood roles where mom forces us to eat all of our brussel sprouts, well that’s just not cool. I’m def not okay with that and when you’re 85, you won’t be either. 

So today’s moral of the story, kids, is this— mushy or not, Mr. Gray should be able to his peas (and anything else), just the way he PLEASE.  SAME AS YA’LLLLL. *Drops Mic*

 

The Hills Are Alive

…With the sound of muuuusiiicc. Aww, doesn’t that film just make you feel ooey gooey good on the inside?!! Julie Andrews, Do Re Mi, clothes made out of curtains. One of the best movies of all time.

Now — since we’re on the topic — I’m just putting it out there….but ya know the song “I am 16, going on 17”? Huge hit, right? I mean, every teenage girl could relate to that song: teenage romance, first kiss, innocence, an older man who’s 17 going on 18. Except one little, itty, bitty, problem. My version was: “I am 16, going on 83.” (and if you could please be in your 90’s Mr. Soldier Boy, that would be bonus points). 

Yeah, I’m a senior freak. This is nothing new. We’ve established this with my blog reveals. But, what might be new and fresh for you all is my epic music skills. Just watch my latest jam sesh:

Oh, you want more you say?! Encore?! Sorry, you’ll have to buy tickets to my next concert. And yes, that’s a shower cap. All granny wannabes wear them whilst playing instruments. You’d have to be one to understand.

Ok. Enough of that hubbub! I clearly stink at the harmonica (although in my defense that was the first day I tried it). I did, however, used to be pretty good at the flute and piano. Key words: “used to.” It’s too bad though because had I kept up with them I could be a virtuoso by now. And when I hit 80, I could have been the talk of the town. Like this dude:  

Woof, someone grab me a fan and fainting couch. This silver-haired Santana is making me SWOON. 

Knock knock. [Who’s there?]. Arthritis. [Arthritis who?] Arthri t’isn’t an issue for deez fingers!!!

Mmmmmhhhmm das right: Did ya’ll know.that musical talent does not decline with age — It RE-FINES. Oh yeah, this is fine wine material here. It’s simple logic- the more you do something, the better you get at it. I mean duh, right? Well, I don’t think it’s a duh thing actually. I don’t think we expect to see a Mr. Gray gone Gary Clark Jr. Quite the contrary; we are mouths-gaping WOWED by it. Most of us react this way to talented musicians of all ages, but when it’s a senior we go ape *shhhhh. We think “He’s so old, but look how he can still play!” I mean, hello, I’m one of them because I internet fainted when I saw this dude.

BUT, as we see with Mr. Gray in this video, talents ripen with time. If continued into old age, these talents enrich the lives of the elderly AND ours simultaneously. Mr. Gray might appear a bit pruney, but he is no wilting grape! And to speak strictly musically, it’s a darn good thing emotionally and physically. It’s a mood booster, provides hand exercise and brain stimulation, preserves memory, you name it.

Seniors with dementia often cannot remember names, places, or other words, but can remember every word to a song when they sing. Check out this video (*warning* get your happy tissues out!):

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART! This gets me deep in my soul. I feel that everything that is positive and hopeful about humanity is present in this video. I could write more here about my thoughts on this, but I mean, I already posted one embarrassing video in this entry, let’s go for 2:

Ok, sorry bout the waterworks, but MAN these videos bring us full circle: Look at what Mr. Gray can do for music and what music can do for Mr. Gray. So let’s all be rockstars. 

 

 

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Ladies: I am sorry to have to tell you this.

Men: I am every sorrier to have to tell you this.

But….

My husband gets me flowers alllll. the. friggin. time. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but he definitely puts the “man” in romance. Now, before you all beat me with miniature violins while screaming:

let me clarify that I am not bragging, simply SHARING. Sharing is caring okay?!?! And truth be told, it took me a while to develop a full appreciation for the showering of sweetness. I LOVE it now and am so grateful to have such a doting husband…. but, when we were first dating, sadly, my response was more like: 

I’m not a scrooge, it’s just that he went a weee bit overboard and did so many sweet things I wasn’t used to…. For instance, ev-er-y morning when we were dating I would wake up to a page long “love text.” Then, he would often leave me an old school handwritten note on the table as well. I basically ended up with such a large collection I could have started a cupid exhibit:

  Front view

Front view

Oh yeah, there’s more folks:

  Side view.

Side view.

  Like, aren't you getting a hand cramp babe?!?! 

Like, aren’t you getting a hand cramp babe?!?! 

Fast forward to 2.5 years of marriage, I freaking lovelovelove this stuff and shoulda backhanded myself for my lukewarm appreciation. I mean, it’s slowed down to a “normal” amount, but I think we’ve hit our love note stride. Now, you might be thinking “foolish newlyweds– just wait 30 years and you’re lucky if he looks in your general direction.” But I have to disagree! I believe this is part of his nature and always will be, even when he is Mr. Gray…..which leads me to today’s theme (ABOUT DAMN TIME RIGHT):  Mr. Grays can STILL be romantic and oooeeyygoooeeeyloveeeydoveeey.

Check it….

My cousins Ray and Diane (who are more like aunt/uncle to me) just had their 50th wedding anniversary.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50. 

I literally got tired just typing that. I mean, this many years of having the covers stolen is definitely the ultramarathon of love & dedication. Personally, I’m just pumped Abe and I have made it over 2 years and can still look in each other’s general direction — well sorta– my husband basically just stares off to the left or the right, or anywhere where I’m not looking when I talk.  

Lazy-eyed half-listener.

Flower-giving excessive love note writer.

Ya win some, ya lose some. 

So back to Mr. & Mrs. Gray. To celebrate this momentous occasion, their children threw them a huge celebration. But not just any celebration– this was a mini wedding reception! Why? Because they never had a real one. 

  The way he still looks at her........

The way he still looks at her……..

In 50 years of marriage, this sweet couple has been through the ringer: Ray’s deployment to Iraq, 30 years in night school, and the loss of an adult son. But the upside is their faith and devotion to each other has made them stronger in love than ever before. The love was ooooozing out of them during the celebration. And specifically, what touched and amazed me was Mr. GrayRay’s romantic expression and honoring of his wife throughout the entire reception! 

He starts off strong, like Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook” strong: 

THEN, after this epic proposal, he goes on to describe the 10 things he has loved and appreciated most about her over the years, starting with the serendipitous story of how they met (later illustrated by their son below): 

  Driving the same car, Diane drove the  wrong  way (or in retrospect, the RIGHT way) on a one way street heading straight for her future husband. I mean, we're Polish. What do you expect? lol   Best. mistake. ever! 

Driving the same car, Diane drove the wrong way (or in retrospect, the RIGHT way) on a one way street heading straight for her future husband. I mean, we’re Polish. What do you expect? lol   Best. mistake. ever! 

In front of all their family and friends, he continued his praise by giving her all the credit for every aspect of their relationship and for essentially, being the glue in their marriage. It just made her sparkle. And beyond Ray’s heartfelt words, the way he looked into her eyes while he danced with her set the bar for any love story. The whole evening was a public display of romance and love.

While it’s adorable to see a young couple smoochin’ in a mall, it’s moving to see an older couple holding hands walking down the street. They have lived through the “for better or for worse” and have chosen every single day to stay committed to each other. That’s real love — a daily decision made over and over and over saying “I’m with you.” 

With that being said, in the midst of Mr. & Mrs. Gray’s anniversary celebration, I found this oh-so-true sign:

I adore this saying because it DOES get better with age….and that includes ROMANCE! <3 <3 <3