A Boomer's Blog

Notes for the Boomer Generation by Linda Paul

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Old Blue Chair

I love Kenny Chesney. I like all his music, but my favorite album of his is “Be As You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair),” released in 2005. It has a very calypso flavor. When I first heard it, I was living through a dreary wet and gray Oregon winter. His song “Old Blue Chair” was included on that album, even though it originally appeared the year before on his album “When The Sun Goes Down.” As the title indicates, and as he sings to us, he “wrote a lotta songs” while sitting in that chair.

His chair is pictured on the album cover. It’s a very shabby chic rattan chair that still has its dignity, at least in the photos. It looks like a chair that you could write a lotta songs in.

Old Blue Chair

I had an old blue chair, too. I sold it last week for fifty dollars. My chair, too, had function and a lot of dignity, at least until its final days, when it was mostly used as a big time-waster parked directly in front of the big fat TV. But before that — before that, the chair was imbued with noble purpose.

I bought the chair in 2018 to put in my bedroom. It would be my Reading Chair. It was often the Heap of Clothes Chair instead, but then I moved to a house with a smaller bedroom, and the chair became a Reading Chair again, parked in my home office. It stayed there, next to a lovely old floorlamp, until I had visiting friends and family in late 2019. Then the chair was moved into the living room, in front of the TV, so that we could all watch “Better Call Saul” together. After my company went home, I left the chair there. It was so comfortable!

Christmas came in 2019, and I led my ukulele group in playing carols at the library. Then my right arm stopped working in mid strum. It hung limply at my side and I was unable to lift it for another chorus of Rudolph. My group just kept playing and I just kept singing. About a week later, an MRI showed the compressed discs in my neck. 

My surgery was scheduled for March 2020. A four-tier titanium ladder was inserted into my neck. They do this by going in through the front and shoving your esophagus aside while they clean up your discs and insert the device. Afterwards, there is constant pain for weeks, gradually reducing (I got off the Oxy in 10 days or so). It was hard to do nearly everything, and my body was exhausted and traumatized. My throat and my singing voice are still not the same as they were before. Taking out the garbage and scooping the litter box were the hardest chores to do because of the pain they caused in my shoulders and back. Nearly every moment when I wasn’t performing any absolutely necessary chores, I was in the blue chair. It was a reclining chair, it was a rocker, and it swivelled a full 360 degrees. It was the only place I could be comfortable. Even lying in bed was less comfortable than being in the blue chair.

In June, I received a big clue as to why my exhausted body was so slow to get back to normal. At age 70, I was suddenly bleeding and spotting. Never a good sign. I met with the Ob/Gyn in late June, then with the Oncologist on July 1st, then had a complete hysterectomy on July 6th. For the rest of 2020 and the early months of 2021, I went to chemo and radiation. My belly and pelvis felt like they were made of Jell-o TM. My body was still working on the neck thing!

That little blue chair was a lifesaver. It was the only place I could sit without pain or discomfort. Because my sleep patterns were disrupted by the treatments (not to mention having to get up for the bathroom several times a night), the chair was a great place for a nap. I took many, many naps.

Now, in August of 2022, I’m two years past my cancer diagnosis and two years past the neck surgery. My happiest recovery change wasn’t just my hair growing back curly, but it was the ability to sleep the whole night through again. I never realized before that sleeping all night through (or at least most of it) was one of life’s joys. The neck surgery recovery progressed, too. My arms are working (no more dangling paralysis) and the constant, chronic pain in my shoulders, the tight muscles that never relaxed, are gone. Swallowing and speaking and singing have all improved to near-normal states.

There is no longer any need for daily naps. I can sit in my dining table chairs and my office chairs and my folding travel stools without undue discomfort. So my noble blue chair became the time-waster chair. Parked in front of the TV where a perfectly able woman with Things To Do spent too much of her time. It had to go.

I was shocked at how quickly it sold. I was happy to sell it to a very nice woman my own age who was going to have some surgeries in her near future. The chair will be a respectable working chair again. And I am feeling more respectable and productive, myself.

I may have to write a song!


It’s Oscar time again!  On March 2, Ellen DeGeneres will host the 86th Oscars.  Of the past 85 Best Pictures, I have seen 61 of them.   I saw some of them, of course, many years after their release, on TV.  Here’s a list of all Best Pictures since the first ceremony was held in Hollywood in May 1929.


My all time favorite from this list — Shakespeare in Love, 1998.  How many of them have you seen?  The winner the first year, 1929, was Wings, the only silent film to win Best Picture until The Artist came along in 2011 (although, technically, there was that one scene at the very end with a few sentences).

The first movie I ever saw was April Love with Pat Boone and Shirley Jones, in 1957.  I had just turned eight and saw it with an older girlfriend, my neighbor Peggy, who was ten.  I don’t remember a thing about that movie except that Peggy and I sang Pat’s hit song, April Love, all the way home.  I’ve been a movie geek ever since.  For years, my son was a movie projectionist, and I was able to get a fabulous Mom Discount, Free Admission.  I saw everything!  I no longer have a free ride, but one benefit of time passing by (so fast!  so fast!) is the Senior Discount.

My worst movie experience ever was attending the Twilight marathon at Scappoose Cinemas last year.  My friend Bobbi wanted to go, and I wanted to see her.  It sounded like a great adventure, FOUR TWILIGHT MOVIES IN A ROW!  Well, I had never seen them, and it’s a testament to my love of film (and my desire to spend time with a friend) that I was able to spend twelve hours watching these movies.  I rate this as my worst experience for two reasons, neither of which is about the movies themselves.  The movies were very entertaining!  In the Worst Ever category of Comfort, I was nearly unable to walk the next couple of days, due to spending twelve hours sitting in a movie theater seat.  This may have something to do with the aforementioned Senior Citizen status, but I’ll never do another marathon movie event again, because I believe it will kill me.  The second Worst Ever category is AudienceAt one point towards the end of the second movie, two women in their forties stood up and began screaming obscenities at each other because one woman accused the other of ‘talking’.  So they were shrieking SHUT UP, NO YOU SHUT UP, BITCH, and I missed some crucial lovey-poo dialogue at that moment.

Of this year’s nine nominees, I’ve seen them all.  I have my favorite movie and actors all picked out.  Did you love or hate any of these films?  Don’t you think that Christian Bale was so great in his role in American Hustle, that it took the first fifteen minutes of the movie to figure out that the character you were watching was him?  Here are the nine nominees for best picture this year:   American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Philomena, Her, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, Captain Phillips, The Wolf of Wall Street. 

I’ll be hosting an Oscar Party in my small living room with the big TV, Sunday March 2.  You’re all invited, spaghetti dinner provided.



Writing in the Rain

Writing in the Rain.

First Blog Post of an Abandoned blog

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

3aug10 Day 1

             This is the first entry in the Boomer Babe Blog.  I’m intimidated by the firstness of it, but there is something that  has been on my mind.  Well, more like IN my mind than ON it.  I just finished a wonderful book called The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard.  Early on, she talks about inchworms.  Any of us who were children and played outside have seen them…  skinny, light green, about an inch long.  They scoot blindly along a blade of grass then suddenly they hang out into the air, waving around from side to side, looking for footing.  Her description of the stupid inchworm flailing around searching for the next blade of grass is sort of a comparison to the writer who meets the moment where the next sentence doesn’t appear right away.  What?!  No next sentence?  Where is it?  Where is it?            Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the inchworm for a few days, since I finished her book.  The worm is having a panic, waving around in all directions, but really….  the next step is very close by.  That’s me tonite, at a crossroads. 
            Quit the hateful boring job?  Is there another blade of grass to step onto?  Should I spend the years I have left clinging to this spot?  Take a leap of faith in myself?  I’m planning to give two weeks notice in the morning.  Wish me luck, I’ll try not to wave around too much.

Biker Boomer Babe

Last year I took a motorcycle license class at the local community college, thinking I would buy a scooter.  I would be the Biker Boomer Babe riding my scooter to the coast, my scarf floating out behind me like Snoopy in flight, or like one of those romantic heroine pilots in old movies whose movie lives ended in a fiery crash.

I came to class prepared with a knit cap such as burglars wear, black boots like the ones the goth girls wear, big sunglasses that I saw Diane Keaton wearing in a magazine, and a Ron Jon Surfshop sweatshirt from my last trip to Florida.  Oh, and puffy gray winter gloves.  Ready to ride!

During the classroom portion, I am the class ace!  The instructor calls on me more than anyone.  I’m sure it was NOT because I was the oldest person in the room, nearly the shortest, and certainly not because I had the cutest love handles of anyone there.   But, classroom has always been a strength.  The field was a different matter.

The college provides the helmets and the bikes.  Big fat helmets that make you look like a bobble-head souvenirs from Ron Jon’s.  Big fat bikes that require a short, pudgy old lady to stretch out her toes and fingers to reach everything.  The right hand is in charge of the start button, acceleration and the front brake, the left hand does the clutch, the right foot is the back brakes, the left foot does some other damn things, all of it at once, while keeping your ass off the pavement on a surging, smoking, roaring,  wobbly, tottering machine.The first time I fell off the bike the young people in my class all offered encouragement and consolation.

I am embarrassed to admit that after my third fall, I slunk home, unlicensed and bruised.  Time for wine and a bath.

But I was invited for a ride this weekend by my good friend Shirley, a true Biker Boomer Babe.  She came into a few dollars last year and instead of dumping them into some boring old 401K, she bought a trike.  A three-wheeled motorcycle with two wheels in front and one in the back.  She even has a ‘gang’, a friendly group she met through Biker Or Not.

Shirley provided me with a sparkly do-rag and a helmet that fit snugly to my head.  We had a beautiful sunny afternoon drive through the backroads of Washington County, with people waving as we zoomed by.  People see more of you on a trike, and, converesley, you can see more of THEM.  We passed people with dogs, up close and personal.  Speaking of personal, I swear I saw a man strolling naked in his backyard towards the hottub.  Shirley wouldn’t double back to verify, but I know what I saw!

Shirley, A Real Biker Boomer Babe!

Shirley, A Real Biker Boomer Babe! 

The trike has a very comfortable and ample seat,  front and back.  There is even a backrest for the person on the back, and handlebars on the sides for the passenger to hold onto.  It was a very comfortable ride!  Shirley’s trike will go 60 – 80 mph, and is much easier to operate and control than a regular motorcycle.  No clutch to worry about and one brake action for all the wheels

When we stopped at Helvetia Tavern for dinner, everyone on the patio was gawking at the two Boomer Biker Babes, tossing our hair after the helmets came off!  It was great!

Next time I take a motorcycle class, I’ll bring my own trike, my own helmet, and a sparkly do-rag!

Hello world!

This blog is for all the Boomers out there.  But it’s 2 AM now, so I’ll be getting back to this later.  I’m just so thrilled to have the blog up at last!

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