This article is part of the CelebrEighty series by Judy Katz… On August 29, 2020, I celebrated my 80thbirthday at Dairy Queen. My daughter Heather made the day special by satisfying one of the items on my Bucket List: a first-time-ever visit to try one of their Blizzards. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. I’ve written about this event before—in Blog Two, “CelebrEighty at Dairy Queen.” At the time, I called my Bucket List “pathetic.” I want to walk back that judgment I made on myself. I apologize not just to myself but also to you, dear reader. No wish is pathetic.
At 81 years of age I still have a lot of wishes on my Bucket List. I hope you don’t judge me as a superficial person if I tell you I want to someday, somehow, finally learn how to apply false eyelashes properly so they don’t get unstuck at one end. I wind up looking “unglued,” like a tragically unaware Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. I look much better in false eyelashes and would love to do the job right. If millions of women of all ages can do it, why can’t I? Speaking of developing that skill, by learning those tricks and gluing them on, is that what a “hack” means?
This article is part of the CelebrEighty series by Judy Katz…Some people are born with a difficult temperament. Often their angry disposition is the result of a difficult upbringing, and a nurturing environment can soften even the feistiest human at their edges. Then why has this not happened with Raina, my rescue cat?
Raina can’t sit on a therapist’s couch and tell us what happened to her before I discovered her in that tiny cage at PetSmart. She can’t relate to us what happened to her when she was wandering the streets. Would that she could, so I could know why she’s not a sit on your lap and purr kind of cat. She has never purred, not once. Instead, she tries to bite your fingers off if you pet her. Read more
This article is part of the CelebrEighty series by Judy Katz…I am thinking of leaving New York. Blasphemy, I know. I’m about as “New York” as it gets. When I confided in close friends that I was selling my Upper West Side co-op apartment in which I have been living since 1983 and potentially moving to Arlington, Texas, I was hit with a wave of advice and suggestions. Reactions ranged from: “Are you crazy” and “You will miss the city so badly you will come screaming back” to others who said, “Bravo for your courage and willingness to start this new chapter in your life.” How valuable is the unsolicited advice I have been getting?
Unsolicited advice is free, and someone once said: “You get what you pay for.” I know people’s opinions about what my next big move should or could be from the heart. They wanted me closer, but they also wanted to see me feeling fulfilled and happy. As Manhattanites, most of them could not imagine me in an apartment in Texas—even with family nearby. Read more
This article is part of the CelebrEighty series by Judy Katz… When marriages fall apart, they often leave behind shattered relationships. This is especially true if children from a former marriage are in play. The loving bond that may have grown between the step-parent and the spouse’s children is usually severed. Sometimes the bond holds—but sadly, that is rare. There can be many reasons: a continued animosity between the former partners, distance, or the step-parent forming other romantic and familial relationships. The step-child with whom they were once close becomes a memory rather than an active part of their life.
I am thankful that is not the case with my “chosen son,” Daryl. Daryl’s father, Ed, was a young widower when we met. His wife Jan died of brain aneurysm at age 32. She left him with three young boys: Robert, brilliant student, who became a sought-after science writer, then age 13; and Brian, then 8, handsome and outgoing, who became a highly successful orthodontist. And then the baby of the family, little Daryl, just 4, who took my heart the moment I met him in a midtown diner, where he peered at me from behind the hamburger that looked gigantic in his tiny hands. That night, he was so shy—all button nose, freckles, and questioning blue eyes. His mother had died three days before his third birthday; he was too young to remember her well. Read more
This story is part of the CelebrEighty Series written by Judy Katz… An impressive 65% of American households currently have a pet—primarily dogs—but also cats, birds, and other creatures. There are significant psychological and physical benefits to sharing your life with a four-legged creature. “Animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase social interaction and physical activity,” according to Barbara Ballinger, in an article on the topic in www.agingcare.com I am here to give you another perspective from my experience: the benefits we get as a pet’s “emotional support human”—especially as older adults adopting older animals.
In my Upper West Side neighborhood, you see signs that say “No Pets Allowed. Service Animals Welcomed.” on the front doors of restaurants, supermarkets, or in the windows of retail shops. Service animals, eh? Walking inside, one would expect to run into (not literally, of course) seeing-eye dogs guiding their visually-challenged person. But no. While you might sometimes see such a pair, it is rare. In those stores that ban pets, what you run into around every corner (and in restaurants under every other table or on every other lap) is a fuzzy Pomeranian or Mini-Poodle or Bernadoodle with their “emotionally challenged” human. Read more