What’s that mean, Ageilicious, and is that really how it is spelled? I don’t know how it is spelled or spelt 🙂 I think it is made up at this point. But a good word, and this is one, the meaning seems clear when it is spoken. I say Ageilicious, or aging deliciously and people laugh and spark up. And that is better than a Senior support group or other themed groups that can be managed as though anyone over 70 is falling apart. Are we? Some may be but they might have been falling apart at 30 as well.

I guess aging well or deliciously is a choice. I can’t say I’m a glowing, strong, age defying specimen/women 🙂 but I sure don’t feel like the photos of 60 year olds we see in the 1950s or earlier. And some of it is a mind style. I mean how one thinks about everything, determines a lot of his/her life don’t you think? Okay, so you are sitting with that friend who tells you all the reasons why something won’t work, and he/she is only telling you that for your own good. Mmmmmm. But the friend who listens, and gives you feedback that relates to what you said, even if it is tough love, that is more about lifting you up. And I say this, because  I believe the people who listen and give us meaningful feedback, that seems an aspect of aging deliciously. Well, to me anyway. And that too is about real friendship. And having friendships that go beyond activity, like going to a party or a movie together, but friends who will come when you call or need them, that kind of friend, that is rare, and something we need as we age deliciously.

Aging deliciously includes an upbeat attitude, being involved with the world and curious about it, and what others are doing. Aging deliciously is being active, moving , being engaged, enjoying life, trying new things, having curiosity for sure, and finding ways to feel connected and productive while sharing the wisdoms earned when it makes sense. And Ageilicious is probably a ton of other things that will unfold and present themselves, in the years ahead. This is new territory.  We aren’t  blue haired permed mamas, nor bent over grandpas. Or maybe we are. Yet our attitude, curiosity and zest for life will amaze and be a window into aging deliciously.

Yard Work

Twenty years ago I bought a home in a small village in a rural area. I wanted the rural experience and I figured this would be the time in my life to do it. I was in my early forties, and the opportunity presented itself to live in beautiful agriculture setting so I took it. I had never dealt with a septic system or having a well, yet it seemed a part of this quasi country life. (We were only 3 miles from a big box store. )

My dog and I loved the dirt trails, miles and miles of them. I loved the smells of the earth, the abundant fruit trees with dripping apricots, apples, peaches one could scoop up. I even enjoyed learning about the land, the land in my yard, which was sand actually. I was amazed at what can grow in sandy soil. And how parts of my yard can look like actual beach sand. And how hard I might try to grow certain plants like hollyhocks or Spanish broom but they would never take. But then a mulberry tree springs up all on its’ own.

I tend to let nature do much of what she wants. I figure if something living knows how to grow and is tenacious enough to thrive, then I work around it. Unless it is an Elm Tree close to the house. Their roots are large, seek water and can destroy or crumble anything in its path. I love them for shade especially when nothing else will grow. In 100 F degree temperatures we need shade, so I did let some Elms grow. But now they need to come down as their roots are bubbling up the brick patio, and one of their trunks is bursting through the wood fence, like a superhero.

There was a time I enjoyed taking care of the yard. It was fun and novel, and maybe I was putting my stamp on it. It was all sand in the yard, blowing sand and some wild sage bushes. Over time I had help in designing the patio,  adding grass to keep the sandy dust down, and recently adding a shade structure. Yet in between those projects I planted, raked, hefted, sorted, fertilized, pruned, chopped, dug, painted, watered and repaired. I enjoyed the effort and the sense of accomplishment. Lately though, I enjoy a well cared for yard, yet I don’t seem to have the interest anymore to do it myself. I wonder,  is that an age thing, or I’ve had the experience and want to spend my time differently?

I know lots of avid gardeners of all ages. I was never an avid gardener. I got involved in the yard as a new kind of experience while I had the energy. Now I’ve had the experience. I know what it takes to maintain a happy yard. I had a daydream as I washed dishes, looking out the kitchen window to my pretty yard, what if my view was from the fifth floor of an apartment, and I had no lawn to worry about? You know, there was a kind of lightness in that thought, of living somewhere with no pests sneaking inside, no roaches, ants, mice or centipedes. I accept pests and yard work as part of rural life, yet I sense the idea of living a simplified urban life is gaining appeal.




Have the ingredients in wine changed over the years? Certainly the size of wine glasses have changed. I remember setting the table in the 1960s for my Mom’s dinner parties, and the wine glasses would have held maybe 3 oz of wine. The water goblet stemmed glass back then would still be smaller than a current size wine glass. Now at restaurants we get offered so many glass sizes from 3 oz to 12 oz, I got confused this summer when I first noticed the options. What happened to one size of glass and one accepted pour of a glass of wine? Now we will have so many ways to drink ourselves into we aren’t really drinking. “Oh well officer, I only had one glass of wine. Well yes it happened to be 32 oz, but it all fit in this beautiful glass my host provided.” 

So back to the ingredients. A bottle of wine used to be somewhat rare. Mom and her friends would offer wine at dinner, and guests usually had a glass, maybe 2, but again, the glasses were small. I remember chianti wine Mom bought in the straw wrapped bottle, a wine she bought for a spaghetti dinner party. Afterwards we used the empty bottle as a candle holder and lined them up on the dining room wall ledge.

And wine was a specialty item, specialty beverage, not an everyday occurrence or choice. Wine took time to produce, bottle and age.  It was not mass produced. Yet now we have box wines and box stores that sell wine. How do we keep up with the demand with only so many grapes, growers and the need to allow wine to age? Well ingredients. What speeds up the wine aging process?

This isn’t a wine making column so I have no idea, but my body reacts differently to wine than it used to react. Some might be my age, rather than the wine’s, yet I do suspect we artificially age wine in some parts of the world, and that affects the body. Other than sulfites, we don’t get to know the ingredients and amount in our wines. Maybe there are more or different kinds of sulfites now?

I was told wines from France or Italy, the original wine making countries, still make wine closer to the original “recipe”. I’m sure the best ones are considered expensive so I may not have tried them, but generally good wines won’t leave an aftertaste or heavy head feeling (even with just a 6 oz glass) or a low feeling the next day. A good wine, certainly a white, to be feels crisp, clear with a real grape taste. Due to volume offered for sale everywhere, to expedite such a mass of wine, we must be  adding man made chemicals and ingredients to get wine ready, bottled and on the shelf within weeks versus years.

Regardless I am sad something artificial has been added to wine, and that many of us feel it even if we haven’t pinpointed it. In wine culture we’ve moved from corks to screw caps to boxes. It can be mind boggling when we grew up to have a certain reverence and protocol for the treatment and care of wine, from the aging process to pouring. Or has wine just become more accessible and my taste buds are just off? Or maybe it’s my 20 oz glass….