Sunday, February 19, 2017

Getting Older... Hmmm...

Hi Everybody! How’s it going today?  

To be honest, things have been a bit strange around here lately. I’ve been thinking more and more often about how it feels to be getting older. Now, when I say ‘getting older’ I don’t mean the way it feels to go from age 15 to 16, when you feel that awesome sense of anticipation because you’ll soon be able to drive. Or the feeling you have when you’re turning 21, and finally going to bars and buying your first legal drink. I’m not even talking about going from age 39 to 40, which many people dread because it sounds so “ooooooold.” ;)  No… Age fifty is far behind me, and I’m solidly 55; and at 55, I’m seeing some significant changes in the ways we live our lives. Allow me to explain…

First of all, Todd’s and my conversations are beginning to revolve more around retiring from employment than about working at the actual employment itself. We’ve started taking a much sharper view of our finances, and examining what and how much we save today, may benefit us someday down the road. For us, it’s no longer about making mortgage payments or running up sky-high credit card balances, as much as it is about 401K’s and mutual funds. I don’t know… Sometimes I love that we’re in this new phase of life. I mean, there’s certainly nothing wrong with it, and it’s certainly not a bad place to be. It’s just kind of… ‘different’ from absolutely everything we’ve done up to this point in life. 

It’s weird too because crazy health issues start seeping into everyday conversations. A dinner doesn’t go by when one of us isn’t explaining that “This hurts,” or “That aches,” or “I think it’s a little better than it was yesterday,” or “Maybe we should call the doctor about that tomorrow… ” You name it, and a couple in their 50’s probably discusses it. For my older friends and readers out there, I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. I remember when my own mom started saying things like I’m saying. One of her common sayings was, “It takes me twice as long to accomplish half as much.” It’s just so different. I mean, there were days, years ago, that all we discussed was soccer or baseball schedules, school concerts, babysitting jobs, and “Who’s going to walk the dog today?” When did everything suddenly become about our backs and shoulders and eyes and other odd items that shall remain nameless... you get the picture.  

I was talking with my daughter on the phone recently, and I told her I was feeling a little bit melancholy. She pointed out how many funerals I attend, and I hadn’t even really considered that as a reason for my malaise. She’s right. Todd and I really do attend a lot of funerals. I attend even more than he does because sometimes they’re scheduled in the middle of a work day. Since I have more flexibility with my time, I’ll often go alone; but if it's on a weekend, we tend to go together. I bet we attended at least twelve in 2016. I know this isn’t that unusual. We’re at the age when this starts to happen. We try to get to as many as possible to show respect. It makes sense. Why, I remember when my own parents began this phase in their relationship. I was in my 20’s at the time, and it felt like every time we spoke on the phone, they were stopping at a funeral home for a neighbor, friend, or relative. They’d often just matter-of-factly work it into their busy days. “We have a few errands to run, we’ll swing over to the visitation for “Delores,” and then we’ll stop and grab a burger before we head home.” Their casual tone felt so strange to me; but dang…! Here we are now, too!   

Anyway, Megan told me to write a blog post about it, and I hesitated, hemmed, and hawed. She told me, “Mom, people like it when you write about real, everyday struggles. Most people are probably going through a lot of what you are. I think it would be good for you to get it out. Write it down!”

She’s so precious – I tell my kids all of the time to “Write it down!” and now she’s telling me the same thing. Which brings me to a whole ‘nother topic: Have your kids become your teacher yet? They really are smart sometimes, aren’t they? Perhaps that’s a topic for another day… ;)   

Anyway, I really appreciated my daughter’s take on this and for advising me to write this post. I pray that my readers understand what I’m trying to convey. Between the retirement talk, the health stuff, and the funerals, I also need to say that I’m extremely grateful to God to be healthy enough to discuss retirement, health, and funerals - both in my real life as well as right here on my blog, with you all.  

As always, thanks for reading!  

Until we meet again…  

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon as an electronic and paperback version. For more information about Katie and her writing, visit her website:         
#GettingOlder  #Retirement  #AdultKids 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dressing for the Weather

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  

Wind out of the north! Good to know!
I cannot even believe that we are this far into 2017 already. All of January is behind and February 5 has arrived. The good news is that the weather hasn’t been all that bad ‘round these parts. Sure, we’ve had a few cold snaps, but not a ton of snow. The temps haven’t been as cold as January, usually our coldest month, can sometimes be. We’ve actually had quite a few days in the teens and twenties – even as high as the 40’s! I know! It’s like a heat wave here when that happens! But we’ve had very few days with wind chills below zero or anything. So far, this winter has been fairly ‘do-able.’ 

That said, I’ve noticed that people around here, in this northern frozen tundra state of Wisconsin, do not dress properly, regardless of the forecast. Retailers (especially around Christmastime) sell us truckloads of mittens and scarves, snow pants, coats and boots… but do we WEAR them? Aaahhh! Now there’s the question. I’m afraid that the most honest answer I can give is, “Sometimes!” 

For example, on a recent 8-degree morning at 6:00 a.m., Todd zipped up his nice warm ski jacket, picked up his work paraphernalia, and headed for the front door.  

Do you have your hat and gloves?” I asked. “You said you have to go to a job walk-through today.” 

“Yes,” he said, “they’re in my truck.” 

You see? It’s the “in my truck” that worries me. He has the proper gear, he just doesn’t use the proper gear. He’s warm from his shoulders to his waist. Everything else freezes. 

But I’m afraid that he’s not alone in this sort of cold-weather folly. It’s rampant. I drove past a bus stop the other day, and there was a teenage kid standing in the 18-degree wind, wearing no more than a hoodie and a pair of SHORTS! Then there are those who actually pull on their gloves, and button their coats. Heck, they even flip up their collars! But because they don’t want to ‘mess up their hair,’ they’d rather face the day bare-headed and shivering - their teeth chattering away. But boy, ya gotta admit they look good! So that’s good! (wink) Okay, and I’ll be totally honest. There are many days that I brave the elements without my gloves, even though I carry them in my coat pockets! You may be asking why I do that…? My only response is probably because it’s easier. I. Don’t. Know! 

Earlier today I decided to get a bit of fresh air before hunkering down to watch the big game. I glanced out my front window to see if our flag was blowing in the breeze, and if it was, which direction I’d need to be most mindful of the wind The sun was shining, and the sky was bright blue, but here in this neck of the woods, those seemingly perfect conditions can be quite deceiving.  

I decided to get smart, and dress for the weather. I zipped up my lightest winter jacket. I pulled on my knit cap, and then pulled up my hood too, just to keep the cold wind off of my neck. I also pulled the gloves from my jacket pocket, and actually put them on my hands! (A novel idea, I know!)  

It was a wonderful winter walk! I wasn’t cold at all, not even when I turned the corner and headed into the wind.  I felt okay – better than okay. Hey! I may even walk again tomorrow! What an idea! Dress for winter and it’s actually manageable!  

Why oh why don’t we just use the items that are in our closets, or in our trucks, or in our pockets? Perhaps that’s a question we’ll answer another day.  

As for today, are ya ready for some football???  

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon as electronic and paperback versions. For more information, visit her website at