Nan Reinhardt, Author

Grown-up love stories, because we’re never too old for a little sexy romance…
Browsing Musings

Getting Older or Better?

June3

Seems like this year, June is going to start out with an emotions overload. Yesterday was sister Kate’s birthday. She’d have been 67 and we lost her way too soon. I was so counting on becoming feisty senior citizens with my sisters, like my Nana and her sister Alice. They were so funny and got on one another’s nerves and loved each other with all their hearts. I thank God I still have PJ to make those kinds of memories with–we’ve promised each other we’ll live to an old age and drive each other crazy.  I’m counting on you, PJ!

Today is the celebration of life service for my friend and neighbor, Bon–she passed in April (another victim of evil cancer), but her family decided to have the service today on what would have been her and David’s 56th wedding anniversary. I confess to wishing they’d simply had it back in April because Tuesday is the first anniversary of Dee’s death and I’m already feeling bereft at the thought.

But you know, I think there’s a chance that this may be the new normal for me because I’m getting to the age where friends die. People are living longer because medical science is keeping diseases like cancer at bay longer and we are better at taking care of ourselves. The fact is, though, that I’m almost 65 years old and that’s senior in anyone’s book. Right now, I feel old because my body hurts from switching up my exercise and my arthritis is screaming at me, but I don’t want to be old. Well, not old and sick anyway.

So to answer the question in the title of this post–I think I want to get older and better. I want to be that fascinating old lady that people want to get to know better because man, she’s a little crazy and a lot of fun. I want to write romantic books and swim in the lake and go boating and play with the Grandboy and enjoy Husband and Son and DIL and my friends. I want to find a place to volunteer this winter and be of help to someone other than myself. I want to learn more about everything and taste some different wine and learn to cook some new and exotic dishes. I’m not done yet, not nearly done. Yeah, I’m getting older, but I’m also getting better . . . and that’s okay. That’s okay.

 

 

Silver Disobedience

May10

Dian Griesel has started a fabulous new website geared for folks over 50 called Silver Disobedience. She interviewed me for a feature spot and it’s up on the website this week. Check it out–so much fun!

 

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Staying in the Moment

March30

On Wednesday, I posted this to the Word Wranglers blog–take a minute and read it. I’ll wait here.

Are you a Phubber?

Oh, good, you’re back! Then today I read this article on a phenomenon called “phubbing,” which is the habit of snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone. We’ve all done it. Some of us do it. I tend to do it most at breakfast because I’m tracking my food on my WW app or checking points for food or… okay checking to see what’s coming in the mail and yes, okay, checking Twitter and Instagram. I don’t have Facebook on my phone because I was spending too much time there. Starting to think maybe Twitter needs to go, too…hmmmm.

Then last night, I caught myself looking at my phone while I was sitting across from my sister at a Maundy Thursday gathering at church. She said something to me and I looked up from my phone and had to ask her to repeat it. She didn’t say anything about the phone, but the look on her face clearly said, “I’m here, whoever’s texting you is not.” She may not even have been thinking that, but man, oh man, that’s what I saw. So I turned turned off my phone, dropped it into my purse, and focused. I focused on my sister and the meal we were eating, I focused on the service, which was beautiful, and I focused on helping bring warm water for the feet/hand washing. I shared communion with my tablemates and passed the peace with my fellow worshippers. I sang. I prayed. I helped clean up. I didn’t touch my phone again until I got into my car in the parking lot, where I turned it on long enough to text Husband that I was on my way home. The beauty of that service and the joy of the fellowship stayed with me all the way home and then I was able to share it with Husband.

Yeah, there’s a lesson there. Be in the moment. Enjoy the here and now because this particular moment isn’t ever going to happen again. Nothing on Twitter or texts or Instagram is as important as what’s happening right in front of me. Or as important as anyone I love.

Gratitude for today:

  • Last night’s service
  • Spring is here, but I could do without so much rain
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Husband is done with the taxes

 

 

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Hanging with the Grandboy

March25

I’ve been so very blessed these past few days because I’ve gotten to spend extra time with my darling Grandboy, who is the heart of my heart and the joy of my life. His parents are away on a much-needed vacation, so Nanny volunteered to stay with the kiddo. It’s been a blast. He’s so unbearably funny and clever, so sweet-natured and easygoing, and so very curious about everything.

He’s especially interested in anything under the sea–his class is currently making an under-the-sea mural and Grandboy can’t stop talking about it. When we read, he always chooses books about octopi and lionfish and whales and dolphins. He and his Poppy have watched every episode of Octonauts together–a British animated TV show on Netflix about a group of animals who live in a pod city under the sea and have all kinds of adventures. Each episode features a different kind of fish or sea creature and they learn fun facts about them. It’s very cool.

He’s also into owls and the ducks that live on the pond near his house. Really, anything to do with nature–Grandboy is all in. He’s all about cars too and Star Wars and Spiderman because what five-year-old isn’t? He loves Legos and the guitar Daddy brought him from London and his dog, Lily, who is the most tolerant animal on the planet. He plays games, draws, tells stories, and sings.

I’d forgotten how delightful little boys can be and yes, how exhausting. His other grandparents took him for a couple of days, so I could have a break and I did appreciate it. He’s due home any minute and I’ll be more than ready to see him. Here he is talking to the ducks.

All in all, this post is mostly to say I do love being a grandparent. It’s a special kind of love, isn’t it? Tell me about your grands…I’d love to hear your stories!

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We’re Not Hopeless Old Farts…Truly

March6

So right off, I love my phone carrier–we have great service, great coverage, and our bill doesn’t make us hyperventilate each month. I wanted to get that straight right off because now, I’m going to complain a little. Not a rant…I promise.

I’ve been after Husband to upgrade his flip phone–he’s had it a long time and he was borrowing mine to text Son or check the weather or the incoming mail or to get directions or to Google something while we were out and about. It was getting kind of silly for him not to have his own smartphone. Then this past weekend, Son gave him a nifty little device that lets you see into tight spaces, but it needs a smartphone. In a nice way, I said, “Well, you can’t download that app to my phone, but I’d love to get you your own phone for your birthday. What do you say?” At last, he said, “Okay, let’s get me a smartphone, but I want one exactly like yours since I already know how to use it.”

Great idea. So, we went online to our carrier and in a few quick clicks, we’d upgraded his old flip phone to a way-cool Android that was as close to the one I have as we could get. Turns out, it didn’t change our bill at all except to add the price of the phone to next month’s bill along with a $30 setup fee. (This is significant, I promise.) No problem. Husband was actually getting kind of excited about it. We arranged to pick it up at the store, so we waited the couple of hours indicated to get a text telling us it was ready. Well, we never got one. So after about three hours, we just toddled into the store, told them why we were there, and the young man who greeted us, checked his little tablet and found us immediately. “Sure, let me go get that phone for you.”

Now, our expectation was that things would happen much as they always had when we upgraded a phone–the customer service rep at the store would activate the new phone and then move Husband’s contacts and photos over from the old phone to the new one. Um, not so much. He dropped the unopened box into a bag and handed it to us. “There you go.” He couldn’t even be bothered to fluff up the tissue paper that came with the fancy bag–it was tossed into the bottom under the unopened phone. Nice.

So we asked, ” Aren’t you going to set it up? Move his contacts over?”

With a pityingly look that clearly indicated he thought we were hopeless old farts, he replied, “Nope, we don’t do that here anymore. Just turn it on and that will activate it.”

“But…but…what about his contacts?”

Another glance over our bent and arthritic bodies at the other workers that no doubt included an eyeroll, he said, “Well, you can try getting them off the old phone”–said in a tone that clearly indicated the old phone was probably something Alexander Graham Bell once played with–“but I’d guess you’ll have to re-enter them all. Sorry.”

And with that, he returned to his friends, who were yukking it up over one of them singing like a street corner do-whop group. Oh, I think there was a “Have a nice day,” as we hobbled out the door.

Well, holy shit. Thanks guys for the great customer service and we’re guessing the #30 setup fee we paid you was for the effort of dropping the unopened box into a bag. Yeesh. Oh, and as we got into the car, the text arrived telling us our phone was ready for pickup, then another saying someone had picked it up. Yeah, thanks for that.

However, there is a happy ending here because we may be doddering old seniors, but we figured it out. We couldn’t get the contacts to transfer via USB or through the the Cloud, but we experimented and discovered I could Bluetooth the contacts that he wanted from my phone since we share a lot of the same people in our lives, and then all he had to do was add the ten or so he had that I didn’t. So there, you smug little putzes. Just because you were raised on technology doesn’t mean you have ownership of all of it and you don’t need to treat those of us who are older than forty like we’re clueless. We’re not. Just FYI, Bill Gates, the guy who invented Windows, is 62. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple is 57 years old. And check out these stats from Medium.com. Boomers are online, we’re everywhere, and we’re the ones who have money to spend. Don’t treat us like we’re idiots. Try to remember that we’re the people who taught you how to use a spoon and a potty…just sayin’.

Gratitude for today:

Husband has a new phone! YAY!

Nice breakfast with my friend/mentor Sandra today.

Novel is moving along.

Found a really nice bummin’ around Riesling at Kroger.

SIster Pam is coming home!

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Late for Lent

March1

Well, Ash Wednesday was a couple of weeks ago–on Valentine’s Day this year, which was kinda interesting. Anyway, usually, I post during Lent about what I’ve given up and how that’s affecting my life. I’m late to posting about it this year because I committed February to featuring authors of Seasoned Romance on the blog, and it didn’t seem fair to shove in with my own stuff. But the blog is mine again.

I did give up something for Lent this year, but it wasn’t wine or social media or chocolate. This year, I gave up being dissatisfied. That may not sound all that courageous, but trust me, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately feeling sorry for myself. I recognize it and I hate it, but I do it. So on February 14, I committed to being happy right where I am. I have everything I need–not everything I want, but that’s a dark and frustrating path to head down, so I’m just not going to do it anymore. Well, at least not until after Easter. Then all bets may be off, although I hope not.

I’ve let the things that aren’t going right in my life overwhelm my appreciation for all the things that are going right. In the interest of maintaining my Lenten promise, I’m not going to list the things I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of years. Instead, each time I post during Lent, I’m going to name five things that I’m very satisfied with–things in my life and circumstances that make me unreasonably happy or even just mildly happy. Sometimes, yeah, I may be typing the list while I’m gritting my teeth, but, by golly, I intend to be joyful this Lenten season.

So, things that fill me with joy today:

  • Husband. After almost 45 years of marriage, he is still the heart of my heart.
  • Son and Grandboy and DIL–the loves of my life and what joy that they are now living so close!
  • Sister PJ and Brother Bud. We have history and it’s so important to have at least one person in your life who’s known you your whole life. Those people becom fewer and fewer as we grow older. I still have two.
  • My dear girlfriends–you know who you are. I couldn’t begin to find joy without you all.
  • Writing, which fills up a place in me that cannot be filled in any other way.

A Teenager Trapped in an Old Body

October20

So, I’m back with more body stuff, which just irritates the heck outta me. Although I’m truly okay with getting older, I really hate the physical stuff associated with aging. Flagging energy, a genetic proclivity for arthritic joints, occasional memory lapses, saggy underarms, the damn diverticulitis flares, and scary heart stuff. For some reason, even though fall is my favorite time of year, it also seems to be the time of year when body issues rear their ugly little heads. I wonder if it has anything to do with being a fall baby–maybe it’s my body’s way of acknowledging that I’m a year older. Who knows?

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Anyway, this fall, it’s my boobs that are showing their age, just like the rest of me. I had a bad mammogram, so I went back for a recheck, which showed microcalcifications in my left breast that the radiologist feels he needs to do a biopsy on. Apparently, they’re “indeterminate.” So on Monday, I’ll be having a stereotactic breast biopsy done and I can’t resist putting up the drawing that goes with the explanation of the procedure because seriously, one look at this and what else could you possibly want to know? Yikes!! I guarantee you that whatever you have planned for next Monday, you will be having a better time than me.

Believe it or not, that drawing does not show the worst part of this as far as I’m concerned. Worse even than having my boob hanging down through a hole in cold metal table and squeezed between two plates, is the fact that I’ve had to go off the anti-inflammatory med that keeps my arthritis pain at bay. I am discovering, much to my pained non-amusement, that these drugs really do work! They are what keep me moving so that my joints don’t just decide to turn in their notice. When I move, I’m good. So, I’m dealing with the pain in the best ways I know how without the meds–lots of water, keep moving, no sweets or alcohol, and prayer. I probably should’ve put prayer first on the list because it is the one thing I’m doing most of.  The good news is that only about 30 percent of these procedures show any malignancy, so I’m counting on being among the vast 70 percent whose tests come out negative for cancer. So if you have a few good-news vibes to toss my way, I’d sure appreciate them. Oh, and since I’ve brought this all up, I promise to report back when I know anything about the results.

In the meantime, here’s my gratitude for today:

  1. Husband, who is so sympathetic and helpful and loving. He’s the best.
  2. Friends who keep reassuring me with their stories about the 70%–they give me endless hope.
  3. Son, who would take on my pain if he could–God, I love my kid.
  4. Beautiful fall days, with blue, blue October skies and cool breezes.
  5. Medical innovations that make early detection possible.

 

Best Friends

June9

Yes, it’s me, looking for peace again . . .

You see, my dear Dee died on Monday–quietly and surrounded by her family, she moved on. I don’t deny I’m grateful that she is finally free from the cancer that has racked her body for five long years. I’m happy that she’s finally reunited with the love of her life because she’d been longing for that. I’m glad this horrible siege of illness is over for her sons, who can now remember their Mom as the vital beautiful woman she was, even when cancer stole that from her. Honestly, I’m even a little relieved that my life may return to some semblance of normal . . . maybe, if I can remember what that is.

But I have to tell you, I’m overwhelmed with sadness at the loss of my friend of thirty-four years. I hate that I won’t be talking or texting or visiting with her again in this life. It feels as though a piece of me is missing–not the same feeling that I had when Kate died. That was different–like a third of the sisterhood had gone missing, which it had.

Dee and I raised our boys together, confided in one another, protected each other’s secrets, and stood by one another through thick and thin. And although I have several very close friends who fit into that same category, Dee was the first. The first woman-to-woman friendship that I trusted. She showed me what it meant to be a best friend, so I was able to discern who was going to fit into my life in that way as I got older; and now I’m blessed to have several best friends.

I’m so grateful that she was in my life, glad that I could be in hers. I’m thankful for the women in my life now, who I know will see me through this grieving time and understand because they’re friends like Dee was a friend. You all know who you are, so I’m just going to say thank you right now–thank you for your love and support and care-giving. I want to gather you all close and find a way to keep you safe so I won’t ever have to feel this empty place in my heart again. However, I also know with everything inside me that you precious ladies will fill that hole with love and joy and laughter. I’m blessed to share my life with all of you, just as I was blessed to share my life with Dee. Thank you.

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The Last 4,000 Words

May26

I’m in the home stretch with Saving Sarah, book 4 of the Women of Willow Bay series. I can’t wait to finish it, but there is a little bit of bittersweet involved, too. I’m not positive, but I think this will be the last WOWB book. I have another woman in the village who could have a story, but I’m pretty sure it’s time to close this one out. I have a new book already started and I like the characters and the setting, which is Indiana, not Michigan. Of course, we’re up in northern Indiana near the dunes and Lake Michigan because I can’t imagine a story without a lake. But that’s the only thing that is the same.

So, I’m counting on writing the last few thousand words over the holiday weekend and then it goes to my editor, the incredible Lani Diane Rich, who will edit, while I work on a tag line and back cover blurb. Tag lines are so hard for me because I think I’m a naturally wordy person and tag lines are, by their very nature, not at all wordy. Lani is great tag line writer and so is my crit partner, Cheryl Brooks, so I may have to turn to them for ideas. I’m thinking it needs to have something to do with running away from bad and running to good, but I’m dammed if I have the first idea how to start.

It’s a sad time right now–my oldest and dearest friend Dee is dying–her cancer has become aggressive and is simply eating her alive. (See this post.) It’s probably only a matter of days now and she has so many people who love and care about her, both here and in heaven, so I know her passing will be eased by that. I spent some time with her yesterday–sweet time where we simply sat and held hands, cried a little together, and I watched while she slept.  But oh, my heart aches with a sadness so deep, I hurt in my bones.

When sister Kate died, it was different–no less sad and my heart aches still for her, but it was so fast, we barely had time to take a breath before she was gone. This has been five years of awful and I hate that Dee has had to suffer with not only cancer, but also with the deaths of her husband and mother in the midst of the cancer. But you know, I’m heartbroken for me, too–Dee and I always teased that when we got to be old ladies, we’d sit in our rocking chairs on the front porch, sip wine, and shout “F@*# you!” at the cars driving by. I hate that we won’t get to do that . . . we’d have been fun old biddies together.

Okay, so time for gratitude, although I don’t feel very grateful today. But I am so blessed, I have to remember that even though my heart is breaking.

  1. Husband, Son, Grandboy, DIL, Sister PJ–my close family and how they always support me.
  2. My BFFs–how blessed I am to have an awesome group of women friends I can depend on: Liz, Di, Moe, Harlene, Patt, Connie, Cheryl, Mary, to name a few . . . the list is way longer than this, but I hope they all know how much I cherish them.
  3. Pastor Diane at ACC–thanks for prayers and always being there.
  4. The lake–if there’s peace to be found anywhere, it’s there.
  5. Work and writing–I can lose the real world in the pretend ones (mine and other writers’) and sometimes, that’s a very good thing.

Last Day of Lent

April15

Today is the last day of Lent. Tomorrow is Easter and I can get back on social media. This has been a fascinating journey for me–an eye-opener, frankly. I had no idea I was so attached to Facebook and Twitter, no idea that so much of my social life was online. If you had asked me forty days ago if I was on social media much, I would’ve said “no, not much.” If you had asked me if I would miss it, I probably would’ve laughed. “Oh please, I have a life–I don’t need FB.”

Well, apparently, it has nothing to do with whether or not you have a life–at least not for me. I do have a life, but I confess I missed Facebook, I missed reading all my friends’ posts and news, checking out my author pals’ promotions and announcements, and seeing pictures of people’s grandkids and vacations. So there we have it–I am a Facebook junkie.

But, I didn’t miss the rancor of political posts, the constant stream of whining about either party–my friends come from both sides of the aisle–or the ads. I really didn’t miss the ads because it’s kinda creepy how you can look at something on Amazon or Google and the next day it shows up up in your Facebook news feed. Is it just me or is that creepy? All in all, I think I’m going to try not to be so addicted once I sign back on.

So to that end, I won’t be re-installing Facebook on my phone–I took it off my smart phone in December in preparation for giving up social media for Lent and honestly, I’m a happier person without it on there. I can still check Facebook on my computer and a couple of times a day should be just fine for that. I hope when I go back, I can focus my social media time on book promotion more than anything. That was the original reason I started my Facebook account and I think I’ll be a more well-rounded person if I keep that in mind.

All in all, an interesting experiment. I’m looking forward to saying howdy to everyone on Monday–I’m going to wait until after Easter to re-activate my account just because, you know, it’s Easter and my mind and heart should be elsewhere on Easter. Thanks to all of you who stopped by here while I was on social media hiatus–I’ll still be posting here regularly, so please continue to drop by! Happy Easter!

Gratitude for today:

  1. It’s the last day of Lent.
  2. Spring yard work is nearly done and man, are things getting green! Can’t wait for the flowers to start blooming.
  3. Powerful Good Friday service at church last night–so glad we went.
  4. Good day with Dee and Di yesterday. Also great to have Liz to talk to on the way home. Thanks, Lizzie!
  5. Husband, who worked so hard in the yard today–we make a good team.
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