Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Walking Again...

Walking again! Well sort of. I have new regard for anyone who has ever broken a bone.  It is hard to believe that I have been recovering from this since August 12!!  Thank you, wheel chair, walker, scooter, cane! Thank you to the rolling desk chair that got me from my car to my home before the wheelchair arrived.  And thank you to my good right foot that provided support and balance while the left foot did nothing...for months!  Friends and family were there every minute and my neighbors were amazing.  I am a changed person for all of the kindness that was lavished on me. I know I will walk differently as a more caring and helpful person...kind of a born again helper and reacherouter.  Just gotta pay it step at a time.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sad and Frightened for all of us.

Last night I met a woman who has chronic leukemia. She is on medicine that keeps her alive. For $8000 per month! When her Cobra runs out she believes she basically faces a  death sentence because she can't afford the meds and she can't get insurance.  This election is important, people.  I challenge Mr.Romney/Ryan to tell me what will happen to this lovely lady?  And please don't tell me she should get a loan from her parents - they've already lost everything material.  They don't want to lose their daughter.  She is thirty years old.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Memory Box

A long time ago I watched a teacher use this "trick" to help a student remember her spelling words.  I share it today for all of us who occasionally struggle to  keep numbers or names in our aging and sometimes unreliable brains,  It works - at least in the short term.  I am not aware that it is a copyrighted or patented method - but I do know that someone invented it.

Here goes:
1. Become aware of where your eyes go when you are trying to remember something (letters, names, numbers etc.)  You will see that your eyes almost always go to the same place...maybe upper right, lower left..everyone is different.

2. Once you have that awareness, visually/mentally  create an empty rectangle in that space.  That is your memory box.

3. When you come upon something you want to remember (maybe a phone number, or a new name) consciously put that something in your memory box.  (I visualize the numbers as I "put" them in my memory box.) Once you "have it" there, "look" at it in your mind.

4. When you want to retrieve that number, "look"  at your memory box (move your eyes in the normal memory direction)- and...(hopefully) you will easily retrieve your information.

5. Of course the memory box is probably short term - so don't try to overload it with too many things.

6.Sorry, but  it only works if you can first remember that you have created a memory box!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Google gotta love you...but darn it's become a challenge to blog or comment.  Maybe I have it figured out, but maybe not.  I have missed being able to comment on blogs I have read everyday for years.

Trying again as I am sidelined by a double ankle fracture and a huge pink cast.  Surgery aside, it has forced me to slow down, way down, and stirred a great compassion for my smart active mother who never complained about how hard it must have been to live the last two years of her life in a wheel chair, and my vivacious and funny aunt Annie who used crutches from age fourteen on due to a rare crippling disease.

I have been touched by the calls and cards, the folks who show up with food and offers to get me out of the house.  I am stunned and daunted by the challenge presented by my front steps and the sweet curving path to the street.

  Every day I am stonger and every day I realize how blessed I am.  Every day I give thanks that when I fell down the interior stairs in my house, I had my phone with me.  And everyday I am grateful for baby rivers and boyfriend who jumped in the car when they got my call, kept me talking as they drove, and called 911 when they realized I had passed out. I am a very lucky girl with a big fat left foot.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I have realized that I do not have a bucket list.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Second-Hand Happy

It really makes me happy when Baby Rivers is happy.  She now has a special guy in her life who makes her smile. A lot. AND I really like him!  He is smart and funny and so  kind to her, and to me!  He has good manners, a good job and he can fix things. He likes to help this old lady.  His mama raised him right. Yay.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dental Spa?

I have been going to the same dentist for about fifteen years.  My daughter recommended him because he was cute and charming and his office was interesting.  My daughter was 22 at the time and impressed by cute dentists.

 Dr. Dentist now owns a high tech practice that takes up the top two floors of a downtown building...and he is still the only dentist.  He and all of his assistants wear carefully placed tiny microphones and earphones to keep things running smoothly. While a the technician was prepping me, Dr.Dentist was talking quietly to someone in another part of the office and at the same time making sure that I was comfortable and ready for the procedure.

 I wanted to be upset that maybe these people were distracted from the most important patient (me)  but actually they were giving me very good care. I wanted to complain that the white white walls, fabulous art and views of the city were a bit over the top, but was more like the serenity room at  five star spa.

 I wanted to be annoyed when I had to wait twenty five minutes for the anesthesia to take hold, but when they brought me to a comfy lounge chair in the roof garden, gave me fresh a white blanket and offered me all of the current glossy magazines and a choice of music, I just gave up on complaints.

Dr. Dentist  likes art, beautiful architecture, impeccable design, gardening and comfort.  He also really likes saving teeth, advanced dentistry and technology.  He has invested time and money in learning and implementing  the latest in dentistry, hired great people to work with him and created an environment in which he thrives. I walked in today with a broken tooth and I walked out with a crown fully fit and  fashioned and seated - in one visit.  No need to return unless there is an issue, and there should be none.

It is a far cry from the one chair dentist who yelled at me as a child and filled my teeth with giant gobs of mercury.  Dr. Dentist is still pretty cute.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Marigolds and Popcorn

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - What's Really Important?

A group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.

I found this movie totally delightful though I admit I can’t get a handle on what I might have thought of it at a younger age. The theater was full of graying, grayed (and balding) women, and we all loved it!  Who couldn’t love this amazing cast, this whimsical but plausible idea and the constant visual feast offered by the Marigold Movie?  We embraced and identified with  every nuance, insecurity, corny line, and wrinkle.

Sign me up to hang out with such interesting characters in my old age. Please don’t point out the rails along the walls or the monkey dishes of canned fruit cocktail. Don’t show me the “excursion” van for Drs. appointments, or the multipurpose room for popsickle crafts. Show me Judi and Maggie and some fabulous clothes. Show me hopes and dreams I'd never admit I still have. Show me new places to go and new things to learn. Show me the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Just maybe not in India.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mazel Tov!

After ten years of teaching adult Old Testament classes at the Methodist Church, my middle-aged brother in law began to think more and more about Judaism. At the same time, my eighty-nine year old mother was becoming good friends with a Rabbi at her retirement home. She introduced the two. What followed was quite stunning. Hours and hours of conversation over ancient texts, issues of great and small consequence, ethics, morals, rules and questions! Rabbi encouraged BIL to learn more. Sadly retirement Rabbi died. BIL continued his study and joined a Reformed Temple. He said that he had always felt that he was Jewish by heritage. He decided to convert. Last week my brother in law stepped to the Bema and read from the Torah. At 61 he was the Bar Mitzvah boy!! It was an amazingly beautiful service - and his friends and family from all over the world showed up to celebrate with him. He provided an inspiring and thoughtful D'var Torah (sermon) - that had people saying..."We thought you would become president of the congregation...but maybe you might become a Rabbi!" The party that followed was a mix of wonderful people, joyous music, fabulous food and tremendous joy. The Methodist friends beamed with pride: "We trained him!" The marathoners(he has run a marathon on every continent) said the same! Everyone there gathered to celebrate and honor a man who chose his own path. I have never seen him so happy. Mazel Tov!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mage Made me Think of This

I learned to swim in a cold Adirondack lake at 8:30 every morning of my childhood summers. When you live in a village on a lake you make sure your kids know how to swim. My parents signed us up every summer for the early morning community lessons that produced everything from splashers to life guards to olympians and professional syncronized swimmers. An old photograph shows me and my sibs in soaked suits, guts pulled in from the brutal lakewater cold shivering under a shared towel. After the lessons we went home, warmed up, ate a meal and returned for the warmer afternoon to play on the beach and swim. It was a big deal when you were certified to go beyond the ropes to the dock. Sadly there was at least one drowning every summer. Lessons or not. A few years ago I jumped off a boat into a cold Idaho lake - and my life quickly passed before my eyes..I am definitely too old to be that cold. Now I love the gently heated old lady pool. May 8, 2012 4:44 PM

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So sad

So sad tonight as I hear from a young friend who is very ill and has no health insurance and no funds. The free clinic is Wednesday nights (only)for three hours and they will not deal with any condition that requires further tests or lab work. It is not possible to make an appointment there. He has been to the emergency room where he was admitted once overnight and then sent home the next morning because there is no insurance to treat his swollen gall bladder or compromised liver function. Just so sad. Somehow I didn't think this was possible in our country.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Big cars and Canned Corn

Tonight I had an hour to wait in a different part of town so I decided to treat myself to dinner. I saw a diner with lots of cars in the parking lot, and thought that might be a good choice. I did not note that the cars in the lot were mostly very big and more than slightly old.

The clientele, like their cars, were more than slightly old. I fit the demographic,except for the more than slightly old big car.

I am pretty sure that the menu hasn't changed in 40 years: iceberg salad, pork chops, chicken or ham, canned corn and rice pudding or ice cream. Just like mama used to make.

Sitting alone in the restaurant among the silver haired ladies and bald men, and the walkers, canes and portable oxygen, I felt pretty fortunate to be independent and mobile - and pretty smug about my small car and my life as a non-smoker.

I would have loved to have had a dining companion, and truthfully,some of the old bald guys looked pretty good, but I think that next time I will choose the restaurant with smaller cars in the lot, and dark greens on the menu.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Who Knew??

Topic for today: bed frame. Topic I have never given much (any) thought to: bed frame. Who knew?

Baby Rivers is moving and combining households and I inherited her brand new upholstered headboard - which came with a brand new bed frame. I was so excited to get the sleek and sophisticated, modern headboard and to say good by to my foofoo whatwasIthinking lala metal bed with its curls and swirls.

My old headboard and frame went on the truck to goodwill - new bed installed and I am thrilled! Not only do I feel like I have checked into an 18 pillow hotel - I got the best night's sleep I have had in ages. Same mattress, same box spring. The only difference was the frame.

I had no idea how much difference a good bed frame makes! Spread the word!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goes Around, Comes Around!

When Baby Rivers was barely able to sit up, we noticed that she was a sorter. We saw that somehow she could see categories and manipulate her blocks and toys into logical groups. Maybe all babies do this - but we thought she was unusually bright.

Fast forward over thirty years: Yours truly is trying to help now grown up and beautiful BR move house. Not an easy task!

There is so much stuff. None of it makes sense to me. She noticed that I was sitting on the floor sorting things. I was making up categories and manipulating all sorts of diverse things into piles of "go togethers" that might make sense when she unpacked.

She thought I was unusually bright!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Birthday From Mom- Pretty amazing!

From the year I left for college until the year she died, my mother always called me on my birthday. No matter where I was, no matter where she was. Sometimes I would send her flowers on this day with a card that reminded her that my birthday was also her "Mother's Day" for her because I was her first born. I was thinking about that today (my bd) when I decided to check my phone messages. Sometimes before you can hear your current messages, the mailbox lady says"the following message will be erased" and you have the option of resaving or deleting. Well, you guessed it: the message waiting to be erased was from MY MOM on the day before she died. (Play the na na na na music) - Of course I listened and resaved. Pretty cool that I got a birthday message from my mom. Just like always. Wow!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Put Your Car in Park!!

Today as I was driving home I noticed a woman driving with one hand and scooping something off the car floor with the other. I couldn't help the horrific memory that washed over me.

I was twelve years old and walking to the corner store. Ahead of me was a babysitter pushing a young child in a stroller.
At the corner a woman had stopped her car at the light and she took that moment to reach for something on the floor. Her foot slipped off the break and on to the gas and her car shot forward over the the baby and the stroller.

For hours and hours afterward we heard the agonized screams of that baby's father.
I can't imagine the torment the driver has suffered over this thoughtless tragedy. I know that for me the memory is as vivid as the actual experience.

The rule: if you are going to reach for anything in your car - stop, put the car in park and do what you need to do. NEVER EVER believe that you can just this one time reach over a pick up whatever has slid form the seat.

I know I have written about this before - but it all came back to me today once again.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Share

The tax man, the tax man, we all love the tax man. I understand taxes. I support taxes. I support the idea that those with more should pay more. I believe in helping those in need. I like good roads and libraries and schools and programs that make life better for everyone. I just don't feel like paying taxes today. Poor planning on my part. My rental, my misunderstanding of how SS is taxed, and a bit more income than I anticipated have resulted in an astounding tax bill this year. Ouch!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Only 17 Shopping Days...

Birthdays were big in my little town. Everyone knew everyone else and nobody was left out of the parties. Flossie Smith, the unmarried lady at the bank, sent cards to every kid in town, the upstreet woolworths supplied little paper baskets for mints and peanuts, and most parents copied Ann Van Arnam's smart idea of tying a birthday bow on the celebrant's chair. Cake mixes had just come along and moms were excited by this new luxury - my mom became a specialist at white cake with chocolate frosting sprinkled with walnuts. My best friend Mary and I shared the birthday month of March - with birthdays three days apart. Among my dusty warm memories: Mary's mother Ann walking me home after Mary's party and reminding me that I would never again have just one digit in my age...and to enjoy my last three days in one delightful digit.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I love my yoga classes! Just saying.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hearts and Paste - Sweet Memory

Valentines! Years and years ago, Mrs. Cunningham the most famous second grade teacher in upstate New York dipped her ruler into the big jar of paste and delievered each of us a generous dab of white, creamy almost candy paste on a piece of scrap paper - and the fun began. Foils and doilies and ribbons and lace - sweet thoughts and not a little ingested paste. The result was ONE BIG BEAUTIFUL valentine for mom. Fancy as could be and full of the passionate love of a chubby second grader. My mom, who never got around to send Christmas cards LOVED Valentine's Day - and she loved ME especially on on Valentine's day in second grade. Mom lived to 91 and never missed sending everyone she knew a Valentine. Thinking of her (and Mrs. Cunningham) today.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Three Little Words x Two

My colleague has joined the six word life story kick! As a matter of fact, she has now written six word life stories for a variety of pop artists, her entire family, and every book of the bible. I am impressed. Having just spent several days editing down I should be good at coming up with my own six words that tell the story of my life.. Off the top of my head I am at a loss.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lesson Learned Late

So the first review went really well except word count was high. I am now editing down - finding the fewest precise words for big complex ideas. It turns out that the section requirements were 500 characters counting spaces. I missed the part about counting spaces. Did I tell you I hate reading directions? Did I tell you that I have probably wasted years of my life because I usually don't read or try to comprehend directions? Wouldn't you think I would learn from the years lost?

This new challenge (paring down) will not be supported by cookies or driving miles to buy cookies. This is more like a cup of tea and a set timer. I will give myself no more than 45 minutes of editing time on each section. I will actually challenge myself to finish each section before the timer decides to tell me I have failed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Done. Because.

Because I needed to finish my writing project, I invited friends for dinner last night.
Because I invited friends for dinner, I cleaned my house before beginning to cook.
Because I cleaned my house - I changed the sheets and towels and did laundry.
Because my house was clean and laundry done, I decided to cook new recipes.
Because I made new recipes, I had to shop and study the recipes.
Because I wanted everything to turn out right I spent most of yesterday making Ina Garton's Portabello Mushroom Lasagna and also her Pear Calfouti. Both excellent!!
Because wanted everything to look nice, I spent some time making the table pretty.
Because I really enjoy my friends we had a great dinner and evening.
Because I did all of this, I was tired and went to bed.
Because I was tired and went to bed, I didn't really work on the writing project.

So of course I was up early this morning so I could experience enough last minute pressure to finish and make the deadline for first review. Done.
Did I mention I am a writing procrastinator?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Words and Cookies

I thought the guidelines said 1500 words for the first section. Well, that was enough to paralyze me right off. I don't have 1500 words on that subject. I could probably say the same 500 words three times. Better take a break, I could eat maybe one of those big cookies they have a Whole Foods. But wait, Whole foods is four miles away. Well I could drive there I would feel better with the cookie. Maybe the writing would come easier. But I still only have about 500 words even with a cookie four miles later. Read the guidelines again - 1500 characters in the first section - that would be about 300 words... Oh glad I read that. Hmm 300 words..but I have 500 words. I need to edit down before going on..but which 200 words will I delete? Better take a break. I need a cookie. Four miles away.

Friday, February 3, 2012

On a roll...not

When there is a big writing project, I say "I'd like to roll it around in my head for awhile" - what I really mean is, I am a serious writing procrastinator. The bigger the project, the longer I wait. I always get it done on time, and it is usually good. But I wonder how much better it would be if I could just begin early and work away at if over time. Do those sitdownanddoitrightnowers do a better job, do they get more satisfaction? Do they have less stress in their lives? I really don't know - but I do wonder if my last three weeks would have been happier if I hadn't been "rolling it around in my head" (more like hanging it over my head) and had instead just started typing. So it is due on Monday for first review and I was going to begin tonight. But I think I will roll it around in my head until tomorrow morning. Which means I will toss and turn. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

With a little help from

Hiking sticks! Ski poles for walking! Best invention since before the wheel!

I Loved taking a walk today through the snow and ice feeling stable and supported and ready for anything! The biggest challenge was holdng on to my heart as kids came flying down the hilly streets on sleds and boards into potential traffic lanes and cross streets. Granted, there were very few vehicles (mostly UPS trucks probably delivering hiking sticks and winter gear ordered yesterday from!) and granted, parents were standing at the bottom of the hills to "catch" their kids - but it was still unnerving to me. What fun they were having!

There's a bit of a controversy brewing in response to an LA Times writer who charged that Seattle drivers are winter wimps. I am happy to be a wimpy woman who is smart enough to use my two feet(and my walking sticks) to get around during this weather event. My car sits happily wimpily parked.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Day Today

Before I "retired" a snow day was a magical gift - an unexpected day off - nothing scheduled, nothing planned and sometimes not much in the pantry. Snow days meant a chance to play or stay in bed or make soup from whatever was in the refrigerator, a creative catch up day. Kids were out of their minds happy and usually up way before dawn to wait for the announcement, and the adults on the street got busy calling each other to offer or arrange childcare, shoveling or rides. Throughout the day everyone in the neighborhood was in touch with everyone else to learn who needed something, who had chains and would be making a run to the store. Returning to work when the roads cleared was usually bittersweet - glad to return to routine, but missing the idea of being home.

I realized today that retiredsnowday is a little like retiredmostdays with two exceptions: there is relief that I do not have to be the one making the decision to call a snow day, and two it still feels like a good day to make soup from whatever is in the refrigerator.