Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, June 14, 2019

50 years ago today


Life Partner!

Glad I have one.
Hard to remember life before this day 50 years ago.
So many happy, sad, difficult experiences ahead for the couple in this picture.

How many more joys and sorrows are ahead for them?
How many changes?
How many anniversaries?


A reflective day.



Sunday, May 26, 2019

Walking, Watching, Weight Watchers



Walking

My walking life took a hit last week.  All the Game of Thrones binge TV watching and all that knitting time resulted in low step counts (about 8,000 on average - so I guess not so low.)  Yes, I could have watched TV and walked in place at the same time.  But what doesn't work is walking in place and watching TV and knitting - all at the same time.  Last week wasn't a total 'slug fest' as I did get out for a few walks, and I did my Leslie Sansone Walking Indoors DVD about 3 times (my grand dogs thought that was pretty funny to watch), but reaching 10,000 steps each day just didn't happen.

However, I am now off the couch!

Time to get back on that walking wagon - hmm - wagons are for sitting ... time to strap on those walking shoes and get stepping again.

And I am doing that - but carefully!  My left knee (2017 surgery knee) has been complaining a bit.  The answer to that problem is simple - continued walking and the return of the PT strengthening exercises  Thankfully my knee seems to warm up to the exercise if I slowly push through and step carefully.  It almost feels normal after 15 minutes so I know nothing serious is going on.  For now ice packs after walking, Advil and a knee brace are 'my friends.'  (And, let's not forget the PT leg exercises to strengthen.)

On the plus side - (a very BIG PLUS),  I have discovered the many of my 'age related' complaints are minimized with all the extra movement.  I can get up in the morning with little stiffness in my legs. Even my knee feels normal again.  I don't seem to need that early morning 'adjustment' period of letting all my body parts 'wake up.'  My leg cramping problems are much reduced.  My energy levels are so much better.  And when I feel down - going out and taking a walk fixes that problem.

Watching

I don't think I ever sat and watched so much back-to-back TV as I did this past week.  Game of Thrones episodes is like eating potato chips - you can't watch just one!  Although I did read the books years ago and saw most of the seasons when they first aired - that was a long ago - 8 years to be exact.  I forgot a lot of the details.  It is fun to catch up and watch them again.  But all that sitting is just too much after a bit.

But I am not done with Game of Thrones.  I am still watching the back seasons of Game of Thrones through the library loan system.  Once that is finished I will be done.  I will really really miss this series.  Amazing production values, great story, total escapist type experience!  It will be hard to replace that series with something else.  After 8 years it is like saying goodbye to old friends (good guys and bad guys).

Weight Watchers

I started Weight Watchers in July 2018 and I went on a Weight Watcher break in December!  I was within 3 pounds of my goal weight.  That break was supposed to be a few weeks - ended up being a few months.   I guess you don't really call it a 'break.'  It is more of a stop!  Thankfully I haven't regained more than 3 pounds.  Guess my eating habits have changed for the better.  Thank you Weight Watchers.

I have tried to get back on the Weight Watcher Wagon twice since December - getting on that wagon involves actually tracking what I eat and sticking to the program limitations.  The limitations aren't the problem.  I can't seem to consistently track any more - I never really enjoyed that part of it.  But I know it is an important part of the plan for success.

Since I am paying a monthly fee - and not really using the program, I am sorting out if I want to just stop paying for now.  To stop paying means that I will lose access to the online features that make tracking easy.  But if I am not tracking ... *sigh* ... I guess those online features aren't as important right now.

Struggling with this idea.

In truth, I don't see myself tracking what I eat forever regardless of my decisions right now!  But the diet is a healthy one and very user friendly - so it is hard to just let go.  Except - I think I have already let go ... by default!  *sigh*.

My enthusiasm now is walking.  The positive feedback I get from that activity is massive.  I think walking (and keeping generally to the Weight Watcher program without tracking) - if kept up will be the answer to holding my weight stable for now.

So ... I have talked myself out of this monthly charge and moving away from formal adherence to the program.  We will see how it goes.

I can return at any time - the time is just not right now!


Thursday, May 23, 2019

My Last Week

I have to say - the last week was pretty darn wonderful.  I know I set the bar pretty darn low on the "wonderful" scale, but it was.

My son, daughter-in-law and grand daughter were on a trip to Disney World in Florida.  As the official dog grandma, I get to spend quality dog sitting time with their funny and crazy dogs when they travel.  The white English Bull Dog is Ragnar - Rags for short.  The mixed Hound and Mountain dog mix is Olivia, Livvy for short.  They live about 20 minutes from me.

Rags - a photogenic little guy!

And a busy guy - always on the run.

They are good friends generally.

Olivia is the smart one - like really smart!
Scary smart!  

Since these wonderful creatures are yard trained dogs vs leash trained dogs, I find it easier to pack my bags and move in with them for dog sitting.  I travel back home every afternoon to spend time with my husband and make him dinner - then I travel back to my exuberant charges who are always over joyed to see me.

What makes this time so special - beyond getting quality time with these mutts?  The answer is easy.  I do NOTHING.  Beyond making sure they are fed, medicated, and loved - and yard time of course, the time is my own.

And yard time does not involve just opening the door and letting them run!  Oh no.  If I do that, they pee and then return to the door looking in with sorrow in their eyes.  Yard time must include Grand ma standing in the yard and watching them.  The 'watching them' is critical to them having fun.  It is like they are performing for my enjoyment!  And, in truth, I do get enjoyment watching them run and play.

Beyond that - I do nothing.  Absolutely NOTHING.  It is grand beyond measure.

This visit, however, I had two very selfish goals!

Goal #1: Watch as much as I could of Game of Thrones on their cable connection (I did see the final episode in really time with the rest of the world.  Thrilling!)  And I was re-watching the previous episodes.  I made it through Season 5!  I will check out season 6 and 7 from  the Library.

Goal #2: Finish knitting Esk's dress while I watch Game of Thrones. I am at the hem.  Almost!

I didn't complete either goal - and you know ... that was ok!

I don't answer the phone, I don't talk to anyone, or do any household chores.  I eat and snack when I want to and what I want (sharing, of course, with my mutts), but except for my time at home in the afternoons with my husband, my time is my own.  It is freedom.

There is only one little downside - they wake and greet the morning at 5:30 am.  I do not!  BUT those early mornings did extend my day about 2 hours so that I had more Game of Thrones time and more knitting time.  Ha!  Who says there isn't a silver lining to every cloud!

Now back to the real world!






Sunday, May 12, 2019

She Was Right!


I prefer to minimize my political opinions on this blog - not eliminate them, not ignore them, not to pretend they don't exist - but limit them ... to when I just can't stand the current terrible state of our democracy and I have to explode somewhere.  So today is that day.  While others are espousing the wonders of Mothers on their blogs and in social media, I prefer to spot light one woman, both mother and statesmen, who should have been our President if we followed the popular vote.  She is not a perfect woman (no one is perfect) and she is not without her own 'baggage,' but she was prepared to represent us on the world stage with honor and strength - and that was unfairly denied her.  

My space, my blog, my opinion!

Time for John Pavlovitz.





Hillary Was Right Calling Them “Deplorables.”

Hillary Clinton was right about everything.
She was right when she warned us that Donald Trump was in bed with Russia.
She was right when she said our election process was being irreparably compromised. She was right when she noted his cruelty, his impulsiveness, and his recklessness.
She was right when she suggested he was beholden to a murderous foreign dictator.
She was right when she told us that he was dangerously incapable of self-control on social media.
She was right when she pointed out the toxic hatred he was cultivating and releasing in people.
She was right when she noticed the way he was dragging national discourse into the toilet. And she was right was when she called his supporters “deplorables.”

At the time of the statement in 2016, she was unfairly excoriated in the media and by Republicans—but looking back she was using sober judgement, measured speech, and incredible restraint:
“To just be grossly generalistic,
 you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.
 They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic – Islamophobic – you name it.”

They are.

In the wake of the police shootings of black men, the street corner assaults on gay couples, the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, the defacing of synagogues, the burning of black churches, the mistreatment of migrant families—Trump’s supporters daily reveal their phobic hearts and their willingness to ignore vulnerable people’s suffering.
“And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people – now have 11 million.”

He has.

He continually cries “fake news” about the legitimate Press, while disseminating the wildest of conspiracy theories from extremists media outlets, previously and rightly marginalized because they appealed to only the tiniest lunatic fringe.  “He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric.” 

He does.

Just look at his Twitter feed at any moment during the past three years, and you’ll find the unhinged, incendiary ramblings of a supremacist, terrorist sympathizer—whose account under any other circumstance—would be deactivated for its hate speech, its purposeful targeting of individuals, and its steady invocation to violence.

In 2016, Hillary was being prophetic.  She used the word “deplorable,” to describe people who would soon: 

applaud Muslim travel bans,
celebrate families separated at the border,
abide children being placed in cages,
demonize teenage shooting victims,
defiantly deny the value of black lives,
vilify sexual assault survivors,
bless a predator to the Supreme Court,
cheer Presidential rally cries of shooting immigrants,
approve of the suppressing of Special Counsel reports,
sanction the complete perversion of our Rule of Law.


Deplorable, was being kind. I have many other words for such people, and they’re much stronger and far less diplomatic than that.

Hillary closed her now infamous comments by saying,
“Now, some of those folks
—they are irredeemable, but thankfully, 
they are not America.”

Well, she was about half right.  These people may not be America, but they represent a good 38 percent of it. That’s far too much of any nation aspiring to greatness. As long as more than a third of our country blesses such malfeasance and tolerates this kind of toxicity in the name of holding power, we’re going to continue to regress into chaos and implosion.

When Hillary Clinton said that half of Trump’s supporters were deplorables, she was in essence claiming them to be filled with contempt for others, motivated by fear, and driven to exclusion. She may have been right in that moment—but the percentage today is actually much higher.

Anyone still supporting him has deluded themselves into an alternate reality that makes them incapable of compassion or reasonable dialogue. All that they have seen from this President and his cadre of grifters and criminals, hasn’t proven alarming enough to wake them into decency or rouse their humanity alive.

Hillary wasn’t name-calling, she was accurately describing the kind of inhumanity we are now seeing as people’s default setting. Given their support of a man who regularly uses phrases like “Crazy Maxine,” “Pocahontas,” “Pencil Neck”— or “Crooked Hillary,” their feigned offense at her supposedly offensive language was and is laughably hypocritical anyway.

No, Hillary was telling the truth, as difficult as it is to admit. She was diagnosing a collective sickness that afflicts a terrifying number of Americans. The woman who should currently be helming this nation was right about far too many things, and not enough of us listened.


Hatred, bigotry, supremacy, misogyny, and violent phobia are indeed
 sickening and repugnant and reprehensible 
and yes, deplorable
—or at least they should be.



John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. In the past four years his blog Stuff That Needs To Be Said has reached a diverse worldwide audience. A 20-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. In 2017 he released his first book, A Bigger Table. His new book, Hope and Other Superpowers, come out on November 6, 2018.

Monday, May 6, 2019

AGAIN!



Everyone together!


"Elaine is beginning her walking routine - AGAIN!"


The story of my life.

Pedometer Story

While I was sick I wasn't wearing my pedometer!  The battery was dead and I couldn't find the charger and I wasn't walking much - just from my lounge chair to the bedroom and back!  Looking for the charger was a low priority.

Now that I am feeling good, I decided that I didn't like the pedometer I had.  I got it at Christmas.  It wasn't that old and it worked just fine, but I really prefer a larger face with colorful icons and this was a slim line style - not as easily read as other styles.

Feeling healthy and eager to get my walking shoes back on I purchased a Fitbit Versa Lite - on sale for Mother's Day.  I am very very happy with it.  The time display is large, it includes the day of the week and the date (silly, but I like confirming what I 'think' I know, 😀) and it shows 3 basic tracking items: pulse rate, steps and calories burned.  Other screens track other things, but everything I usually want is right on the first screen.




So - the problem of the Fitbit was solved.


Tracking Story

Back in April I mentioned a website (Walk4Fun) that I began using to track my steps on.  What a fun site to visit.  I strongly encourage you to visit the link, Walk4Fun, and check it out.


Photo credit: Walk4Fun
This is a full size map of the trail, but additional maps of smaller
sections are available on the site showing the exact locations.

Briefly, it is a free website where you can log your steps - and apply them against one of many famous walking trails around the world - and see pictures of the chosen trail from your 'virtual' hike all along the way.  I chose the Appalachian Trail (AT) and I am thoroughly enjoying the 'trip.'  And to top it all off, if you have a Fitbit, you can link your Fitbit to your Walk4Fun account and your steps are automatically logged without any further effort on your part.  But if your pedometer is another brand, you can key in your step counts manually.  And then just periodically visit the site to see where you are on the map and visit some of the pictures of your travels.  Wonderful wonderful idea!


72.9 miles
Photo credit: Walk4Fun
My position at approximately 76 miles on the AT.

Earlier this month, my Pennsylvania cousins were visiting me and I mentioned this website. They became interested.   We formed a team on the site, and we are all walking the AT together (well, we are at different points because our individual step counts are different), but we can keep track of individual our progress.  Then we broadened the team to other family members and friends.  Now we are 9 on a team called Cousins.

So now I not only enjoy seeing the pictures and my position on the maps, but I can see where I fall within the team!  My one niece is a runner and lives in Chicago.  She walks everywhere.  Her numbers are very high - very high without even trying.  Then there are team members who are inspired to get active again and fall somewhere below the leader.  But the leader inspires us to keep walking ...

Great fun.


Steps Story

I am one of those who is inspired to get active again and in trying to get my step numbers up - I discovered that it isn't as easy at 72 as it was at 52.  But not discouraging to me at all.  I have had to become creative in how I get those steps.  I park further away from my destination, I take walks outside, and there are inside opportunities to get steps in as part of my routine.  This morning I decided to walk around the condo while my coffee perked.  By the time it was ready, I had walked 1035 steps!  Wow.

Some days don't seem to allow time for walking during the day - so I have fallen back on my tried and true Leslie Sansone - indoor walking DVDS.



Leslie Sansone: Miracle Miles 5 DVD Set featuring Free Super-Sculpting Chain Link Band


I have a few of her DVDS and they are really very good.  Steps movements are simple, repeated, and gradually increased in intensity as needed based on the DVD you choose.  It is a work out for sure - and it adds steps.  I even have one aimed at "older adults." The DVDs are ideal for when I can't get out for that walk, or I find myself at the end of the day and short of my goal number of 10,000 steps.

That's my walking update for today.

It is wonderful to feel energized and well again.  As hard as that flu virus was to get passed, it increased my appreciate of how important good health is.










Saturday, May 4, 2019

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The only thing that could entertain, distract and help me pass the idle time when sick last month was the audio version of Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Gone with the Wind

My memories of reading this book and watching the movie are pretty unremarkable.  Long film, beautiful costumes, strikingly handsome actors, memorable moments - like "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn."  Escapist kind of story.  My kind of book.

Funny how are memories of a story
 can be so different from our impressions
 when coming across the same story around 40 years later.

It is probably next to impossible to find anyone who does not know this basic story ... but just to be safe, here is what Wikipedia provides in summary:

Gone With the Wind was first published in 1936. The story is set in Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era.  It depicts the struggles of a young Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner,  who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following Sherman's destructive "March to the Sea."  As of 2014, a Harris poll found it to be the second favorite book of American readers, just behind the Bible.  It was adopted into a film in 1939.

I purchased the audio version of Gone With The Wind mostly because recently I purchased the Kindle sequel  Scarlett: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind by Alexandra Ripley.  I thought it would be good to reacquaint myself with the original story of Gone With The Wind before jumping into the sequel.  From what I read about the sequel - it was better than a TV movie they made.  I never saw the TV movie.

As a product of the later 20th and early 21st century thinking on race and equality - I had a slightly different response to this story than when I read it 40+ years ago.

Pluses:
  • Written from the South's perspective, the story provided a fairly detailed account of how the South lived and thought at the time of our Civil War.
  • While history books usually give a commanding detailed account of the battles and causes for this conflict, this story filled in the gaps in what it was like to live as a civilian during this war on our home soil.
  • I have read and watched the movie of this story more than once.  This book is an example of a rare book that I will re-read.  I seldom re-read books.  
  • It was a long, long, long story.  I love a long story and this one is herculean in its length.  The book did provide a deep understanding of character motivation - filling in the gaps that would be missed in the movie (movie running time: 3 hours, 45 minutes.)

Cons:
  • The story is marketed as a Coming of Age story set in the Civil War and Reconstruction period.  I would argue that a 'Coming of Age' label should be based on character evolution - growth and maturity gained through life experience.  I don't think that happened.
  • Scarlett O'Hara got on my nerves so badly that by the end of the story I was ready to kill that woman myself. (I know, I know, she's make believe, but you know what I mean.) Because this was the book and not the movie, I was witness to all her thought processes and priorities.  ALL of them!  She was so self centered, willful, and shallow.  For a woman with the intense drive and intelligence to survive and succeed in post war conditions, she was just plain stupid about everything else.  She never learned ANYTHING about life or how her actions were impacting others.  She never understood what was important in life until the very end of the story when she had lost everything that mattered.  Seriously, by the end I was happy to see her finally get what was coming to her.  I felt no sympathy or pity for this woman.  Maybe a small argument could be made that she was a product of a dying way of life and was hard wired to respond as she did - but there were other female characters who were the total opposite of her ...  who also were products of the same way of living.  I think Scarlett's lack of complexity as a flawed character is probably indicative of writing in the 1930s - when good guys all wore white hats and the bad guys were just as easily identified.  
  • Details about slavery and the "darkies" was hard to swallow.  During the reconstruction - when slaves were 'set free' with no life experiences, training, or history of humane treatment ... beyond slavery, there were long passages about how bad the "darkies" were behaving now they were free.  My 21st century self couldn't help yelling (silently) that if the Black population had not been forcibly yanked from their native land and forced -  against their will under horrible inhuman conditions - to the American colonies as slaves - those 'bad behaviors' of the "blackies" wouldn't exist!  No where in the telling of the story did it mention that the white men created this terrible situation they were struggling with and paying the price for that decision through generations.  Our founding fathers foresaw this problem when creating this nation, but they could not get the slave states to support Independence from England without including slavery!  But to be fair,  the book was written in the early 1930s and a more evolved recognition of the seeds of race relations was not yet recognized. Even if it was recognized - it probably had no place in a story that was designed to share the culture of the time.
  • So now I have the sequel to this book ahead of me - called Scarlett.  Guess who it is mostly about?  I am hoping that Scarlett's behavior reflects some sort of growth after 44+ hours of listening to Gone With the Wind.  The book will get my normal 80 pages or so to grab my attention and if not, it gets deleted off my Kindle.
I doubt I will read or listen to Gone With The Wind again.  I am pretty much done being aware of all Scarlett's thoughts.  I will borrow the movie from the library and watch it again.  The costumes, the beautiful people, the story ... they are still there, so it is worth another look.





Friday, May 3, 2019

BIG Deep Breath

Ahh, done!  
A-2-Z Challenge 2019 is finished.

Post Challenge Update

Big Deep Breath. I must admit, I am kind of glad to be finished - and free once again to blog in "any direction" that I want.

Blogging in this challenge is only limited by the letter of the alphabet - and that you post on the assigned days.  But I limited my posts by picking a theme. If I was tempted to do this challenge again I would omit the theme.  Beyond that, this challenge was very well organized and managed by the lead team and I applaud their efforts.  Thank you!!

One unexpected discovery I found on the last day:  I had noticed that responses to my posts during this Challenge were few.  Not really typical but understandable if Aging is not an interesting topic for some.  On the last day of the challenge I noticed over 160 messages in my Gmail Spam Folder.  Yikes!  I opened some of the messages and noticed that many them were not one message, but a collection of 10 or 12 messages grouped together within the message.  Then I discovered that there were post responses in Spam from new and established readers.  A ton of them!!!   Gosh.  I have corrected this situation by sorting out that mess and getting visitors comments posted appropriately to each April post.  It took hours to fix.  Thank you to all that commented.  Not sure how this happened, and sorry your comments didn't make it to my blog in a timely manner.   All that has been fixed.

(This is my scheduled post-Challenge update.)


Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Next up is Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival scheduled for this coming weekend (bigger deep breath.)



Already I have sanitized - cleaned everything in the guest bedroom (aka - yarn room, craft room, mental health space) - and it is flu free.  The windows in the condo have been open and fresh air has filled our space.  The attached bathroom is also 'company ready.'  Now onto the rest of the condo. The big event is Saturday!

Knitting

BIGGEST DEEP BREATH OF ALL.  I am back to knitting.


Pictured above is a knitted dress I am working on for my grand daughter.  Right now it looks like cat vomit!  I am hoping that when I cast off in another few inches - and block this sucker - a beautiful swan will emerge from this ugly duckling.  Blocking always improves the look of knitted items - and it better not fail me now!!

I am also hoping I don't regret using this speckled yarn in a dress that has a knitted pattern.  I hate when the knitted pattern competes with the yarn and they both lose.  I know better than that, but sometimes get blinded by the razzle-dazzle that caused me to purchase the yarn originally.

The yarn is fingering - so it is slow going to knit, but it is super wash so easy care.  The body is A-line with the pattern repeated on the back as well.  It is hard to get a sense of the line of the body because my needles (still attached) are holding it in.  The buttons shown are there to give a sense of where buttons will go - maybe I will find the perfect buttons at the fair!  This project should have been finished by now - but I was too sick to work on it.  Trying to catch up now.  When done completely ... it better look like this. 😂



That's all for now folks.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

My Self-Destructive Path to Wellness

Yes, I am well 
despite my best efforts to undermine that effort! 

But I am not entirely a 'good do-bee' when left unattended!

Yesterday I made a trip to the library - an innocent trip.
After all, who gets into trouble going to the library.

On the way I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things.  
It can't get any more innocuous than a grocery store.  

While pulling into the parking lot I got very hungry - VERY hungry.  I had left the house around lunchtime without eating (something I wouldn't ever do in my 'pre-flu, dieting days.' )

Upon entering the store I decided to pick up a sandwich.  I also determined that I deserved salty fatty potato chips.  A big bag so I could have some for later as well.  After all, I had suffered! I had earned chips.

I walked to the prepared food section and found 3 small ham and cheese sliders (without mayo - being virtuous because of the potato chips), walked passed the bakery and a slice of cheese cake with strawberry topping landed in my basket (fruit, you know), then I headed to the chip isle.  Being a sanely reasonable person, I decided against the big bag of chips - and decided to get the medium size bag (2-3 servings per bag size).  Ok, I got 2 of those bags.  I couldn't make up my mind between cheddar flavored chips and regular chips.

As I reached the check out I noticed that the candy was on sale - buy one and get one free.  Decisions, decisions.  I settled on my all time favorite Hersey's Chocolate bars with Almonds (2 of them) and my second favorite, Baby Ruths (2 of them as well.). I just couldn't decide - and they were on sale after all, AND, just in case anyone is wondering, they both had protein: nuts!!

Before my hand even hit the exit door, the Chedder flavored chips were open and I was eating them.  Hungry - remember?  When got in the car - instead of driving and eating at the same time (safety, ok) I decided to eat in the parking lot.  As I opened the ham and cheese sliders a thought cross my mind, "You should really throw away half of this junk food."  Before I could let my better self take action on that thought (I had just purchased these things.  Crazy thoughts to throw them away within 10 minutes of purchase!  Who does that ??????), so before I did anything regrettable - I stuffed those sliders into my mouth, finished the potato chips, and started in on the cheese cake.

Somewhere between the start of the cheese cake and the end of it, my stomach started sending messages to my brain - urgent messages - "What the heck is going on?  For weeks you feed me nothing but soup, yogurt, scrambled eggs, lemon/honey tea, soft toast ... and now I am getting an avalanche of ... whatever this crap is!!  Have you lost your mind?"

I eyed the chocolate bar.  
Seriously, I did.   
I couldn't help wondering just how serious my stomach was.

Ok, I won't eat the chocolate now, but I won't be throwing it away either.  (Compromise - I am nothing if not a compromise.)

On the ride home I began to calculate the diet damage I had done to my months of Weight Watcher weight loss.  It wasn't pretty.  Just before I came down with the flu I returned to Weight Watchers - and the damage I did over 3 1/2 months absent from the program was only 3 1/2 lbs.  I had been good even when I wasn't being weighed weekly.  In fact, when I was seen by the doctor during the flu I had lost weight from my last Weight Watcher weigh in.  I was golden!!

Except ... how would this feast - eaten in about 7.5 minutes - play out on the scale?

Those 4 candy bars had to go.  I got home and unpacked my purchases.  I realized immediately that I couldn't just throw them away.  If I really wanted to throw them away, I should have thrown them out the car window driving home.  That would be littering and I couldn't do that!!

I put them in the freezer.

That was yesterday.
Today they are gone.
And they were good!
  Four candy bars - spread out over time,  (a short time)
because I didn't want to wake up the sleeping giant in my stomach.

Now what to do about Weight Watchers!  It will be 3 weeks from my last weigh in.  How will I explain all of this?

I am nothing if I am not inventive (and compromising.)

Here is the tale.  I had the flu (true ... going for the sympathy vote here), and I had to take steroids for a swollen throat (also true ... more sympathy) and everyone knows that steroids adds weight to your frame no matter how little eat (absolutely true - it is the doctor's fault!)  I am off the steroids now.  Things will improve - if I just avoid libraries and grocery stores.

That's my story.
What do ya' think?


























Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Z - Zombie

Z is for Zombie

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter


How did I settle on Zombie - as part of my Retirement and Aging theme?

Well, to begin with I love zombie stories.  I read and watch a lot of that theme.  For Z the word Zombie immediately came to mind.  But then the real challenge - tie in Zombie with my theme.




In Aging Backwards by Miranda Esmonde-White, she dedicates a significant portion of the book to exercises specifically selected for older adults.  One section - Straighten Your Posture - uses a movement she calls Zombie.





Instructions: "Completely relax the upper body, bending forward with knees bent and arms relaxed. Sway slowly side to side - then slowly straighten your back to stand straight, rolling up one vertebra at a time."

Bingo!!!  
Zombie is now my final word in this challenge.
  Thank you Ms. Esmonde-White.

Zombie is literally my final bow as I exit this challenge.


Thank you all who followed me to the very end.  
I sincerely hope some of my observations have been interesting,
or put a smile on your face,
or gave you something to think about,
or, at least, gave you a peak at one person's journey through this last stage of life!


And just incase you are wondering!
I probably can get my body into this Zombie position.
The getting out ... that's the tricky part!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Y - Young

Y is for Young

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter


I love discussing the idea of 'Young' in a blog series
focused on Retirement and Aging!

Is age really just a number like they say?


If you are 50 talking with a friend who is 70,
 you might feel young.  
But if your 70 year old friend is talking to a friend who is 90, might your 
70 year old friend feel young?
Or
might you just feel you are talking with a friend who has something
to offer, and 'young' or 'old' doesn't enter into the equation?


What age is 'young?'  
Is there an official number?
If you are young at 29 years old on Tuesday, but Wednesday is your 30th birthday,
are you suddenly old at 30, 
or were you just old at 29 and you didn't know it? :-)
Or
might you feel the whole discussion of 'young' and 'old' is
a waste of time and focus on what you contribute to your society at whatever your age?


If you are comfortable in your own skin, 
your natural color hair, your well-earned facial wrinkles, 
 the clothes on your body,
 regardless of colors, or patterns, or style,
regardless of what anyone else thinks of you
 ... is that young?
Or
is judging a 'book by its cover' when talking about humans
an expression of your own ignorance and insensitivity?    

So what do you think?


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Update: Flu, A-2-Z, and Maryland Sheep and Wool

The Flu

Today marks exactly 2 weeks since my first flu symptom and I am extremely glad to have it in my rear view mirror.  Of course, colds and the like never depart from me without leaving a few non-contagious foot prints behind.  Like drunk and disorderly party guests who refuse to go home, my nose will run for another week until my sinuses sadly realize - the party is over.

I would love to report that I am totally recovered  - but unless I stay on the steroids my doctor prescribed, the sore throat returns - the sore throat that landed me in the ER a week ago because I simply couldn't swallow - the sore throat that could have resulted in an airway obstruction if I hadn't visited the ER to get help.  Although this flu is in my past, looking back at it I am more frightened by the event than I was at the time.  I slept with cold packs on my throat for two nights before seeking help.  One of those nights I could not close my eyes because of major nose bleeds - both symptoms were on top of others I was dealing with at the time.  I now have serious respect for the flu.

My husband is a few days behind me on this flu journey, but he started Tamaflu earlier in the illness so he beginning to turn the corner and climb back slowly and painfully to health once again.

A-2-Z Challenge

I am within days of completing the A-2-Z Challenge.  Thank God for preplanning, writing, and scheduling of posts before the first day of the event.  I would have 'crashed and burned' because of this illness if that work was not done in advance.  My hats off to those who created and posted in real time.

I had to abandon the visits to other blogs, however.  No energy and no way to catch up when new posts are added all the time.  The part I participated in was fun.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

I am going to get cracking on sanitizing our condo - we are expecting company next weekend for Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Weekend (MDSW) held the first weekend of May every year.  We are expecting out of town guests for this event.  It is the 'Mother of all Sheep and Wool Festivals' in the country. I believe it is the oldest and the biggest fiber fair - with close to 300 vendors.  Events, demonstrations, classes and everything fiber related fill 2 full glorious days.  This year, however, I am starting from a major energy deficit due to illness so I won't be getting around to visit every single vender.  That is fine.  I really don't need anything with regards to yarn.  I have no intention of spending a lot of money. I just need time to soak up the feel-good vibes of this event and take in all the visual splendor that is always Maryland Sheep and Wool.

This is a yearly event for me!  I always say, "I would need to be dead to miss this fair."  I have amended that statement - "I would need to be dead or down with the flu to miss MDSW."  When you are 'too sick to knit' (a statement I never imagined EVER saying)  - attending MDSW is not even on the radar.


















Saturday, April 27, 2019

X - Xi

X is for Xi

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

You know what Xi is, right? 
I use that word at least once a day - sometimes twice!!!


Now, to provide full disclosure ... I don't actually say that word in conversation, or write that word (except for just now) in my correspondence, or even stretch the truth by saying I could use that word in a sentence.  I couldn't even give you a definition until I looked it up ... just NOW.

But use it, I have.

I DO use the word - Xi - because ... wait for it ... I play 'Words With Friends!'  And thank God for the word Xi - because there aren't a bunch of words that begin with X - I know - because I looked them up for this challenge!

Anyway - Xi - is the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet.  
Thank you Greek people!

What does that have to do with Retirement and Aging?

I play a lot of word games now.  Keeping my brain engaged and flexible is one of the necessary "to-dos" of retirement - 'cause if you lose that organ's function - you can just pack it up and go home.

So - 
Yea - for Words With Friends
 and Yea for the Greeks. 
You two gems are contributing to my mental well being as I age.

PS - and Yea for A-to-Z,
because without the challenge, 
I wouldn't have bothered to look up the definition of Xi either!!!

Friday, April 26, 2019

W - Wedded

W is for Wedded

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

Several years ago my daughter gave me a small book called Wait For Me: The Irritations and Consolations of a Long Marriage, by Judith Viorst.  She received it as a gift from Ms. Viorst who she knows.  My daughter gifted the book to me.  In this post - as I discuss nearly 50 years of marriage - this June - to my husband, I will feature small quotes pulled from the book.

It destroys one's nerves to be amiable
every day to the same human being.
Benjamin Disraeli 

I remember a time when my husband and I traveled to an anniversary party thrown by my family for my grand parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.  We were either engaged or newly married.  I could not imagine 50 years ... so far off - almost an impossible period of time.

The Irritations
I am only trying to help
When I observe that every tie that you wear has been stained
By food you have failed to transport to your mouth from your plate,
And you're only trying to help when you tell me I've gained, 
Along with a lifetime of wisdom, a bit too much weight.
Judith Viorst

When facing our own 50th anniversary in June, I marvel at how different we both are today from who we were in 1969.  Would we have been drawn to each other in 1969 if we were as we are today?  Probably not.  My husband and I are now as different as a circle is from a square.  But we established a home and a family ...  as well dealt with the joys, sorrows and struggles of life.  Most importantly we learned to also make room for each other to grow into the people we are today.  We made so much room for change that the people we are today are not natural pairing of like minds as you would expect in a long marriage.  But that may be the key to our success.  We allowed that difference to develop and we didn't use it as a reason to divorce - as many may have.

In every marriage more than a week old, there
are grounds for divorce.  The trick is to find,
and continue to find, grounds for marriage.
Robert Anderson

The number of couples making it into retirement together (regardless of the years married) is probably pretty good based an informal sampling of my peer group (not scientific I know.)  But couples married in their 20s that are still married to the same person at the time of retirement - well, that number is smaller, I would guess. Finding a reason to divorce seems much more common than finding a reason to stay married for 50 years.

The Consolations
In a world here everyone's powering on and off,
In a world where hacking doesn't refer to a cough,
In a world where nothing on earth is too arcane
For Google to instantaneously explain,
And tattoos aren't only for thugs but for the elite,
It's nice you're as twentieth-century,
As stubbornly twentieth-century,
As hopelessly twentieth-century as I am.
Judith Viorst


So although I didn't see this anniversary when I was younger (and I can recall a few other times when I wasn't sure we would make it), we did make it to that 50 year mark!  How did we do it?

  • First - We didn't try to change each other. Although we get in each other's way at times, our paths in life are not "our path" - it is more like "my path" and "his path" but parallel.  
  • Second - We believe in the traditional vow we took.  Nothing fancy or made up.   To love, honor and obey until death do us part (although the 'obey' part I have kind of fudged a bit.)  I believe the wording of this traditional vow is the hardest of all vows to keep - short and to the point - no gray areas or wiggle room.  
  • Finally, I guess we were just a bit lucky.

Wait For Me
So just in case there's a place where we go when we die,
And just in case you should get there before I do,
I don't, when it's my turn, want to spend eternity
looking for you.
So let's decide where we'll meet.  Let's decide
Where you'll wait for me.
Judith Viorst

Will we make "until death do us part?"  Yes.  But the thought of being the one left behind knocks me  off center a bit.  You see, I married my husband right after my college graduation ... moved from my parents home into our new life - not one day spent as an independent adult.  All those years we shared the responsibilities of living.   But since his disability I have taken over all the responsibilities - from  bills to trash - and everything in between.  I can take care of myself if he dies first ... so that is not the problem.  But who is the person I will be if that happens?   Not someone's child and not someone's wife.   I will need to sort all that out if given the chance - independently, without anyone's help.   It may takes some time, but I'll land on my feet I am quite sure.

I always have.

We've been through "I told you it wasn't worth all that money."
We've been through "For once in your life admit that you're wrong!"
***
Most of the time, what's good overrides aggravation,
And so far we've somehow escaped some really close calls,
Suggesting we're in this together for a duration
That could continue long after the curtain falls.
Judith Viorst

Where is love in this discussion?   Despite all the songs, love stories, poetry and movies ... love is not an easy emotion to define.  It's not uncommon to hear a divorcee admit to still have love for the former spouse.  They just couldn't live together.  As a younger person I would not understand that kind of relationship.  Now after 50 years and lots of growth - I do understand it.  In my heart I believe that there must be more than love for a successful marriage that has staying power well into retirement.  That is true for us - and I believe it is true for a lot of people.







Thursday, April 25, 2019

V - Vigilance

V is for Vigilance!

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter


My mom was in my home for 5 years - and in Assisted Living and Nursing for 3 years.  But for two years prior to moving in with me - I could see changes happening.  This elder person who happened to be my mom was showing signs of ... well ... at first I wasn't sure what the signs represented.  She still lived independently, she still drove, she still paid her bills, she still went to church and the senior center, she still did everything she did before.  But something was changing and I couldn't put my finger on it.

Decline can happen slowly.  It can easily be overlooked.  Seniors are great at hiding short falls in behaviors.  Early in their decline they are probably aware of some limitations - aware that they can't do things they used to do, aware that some tasks become just too much, or too confusing.  And they are also aware that they are probably beginning to fail in some indefinable way.  They compensate by hiding that fact from others - because independence is the last jewel of a persons life - something to be locked away where no one can take it.

Family doesn't see a lot in the beginning.  I know.  I didn't.  I saw a tiny red flag in a sea of normalcy.  A tiny red flag that probably is just an imaginary spec of dust.  And subterfuge is not difficult for an elder to perform in a sea of normalcy if family isn't paying close attention. So initial years of decline can artfully be hidden from the casual eye.

This inability to see is so common in families.  I know that some members of my family were unable to see what I saw.  Does that make them bad people?  Absolutely not.  But just like any other familiar thing in your life - you can overlook, fail to see what is in front of you. Or sometimes you see the problem but really don't want to see it, admit it is happening - and minimize it in your mind.  It is normal.  But so is being aware normal.  Hopefully someone in a family is aware - it is elder family member's safety net.

When does that safety net needs to be activated? That is were Vigilance needs to step in!

Vigilance
 is no more than the action or state of keeping careful
 watch for possible problems or difficulties.

It doesn't mean stepping in at the very first sign of a memory lost, a forgotten name or an item misplaced in plain view.  We all do that.  No, vigilance means being aware of behavior patterns or problems that are new or maybe developing.

My vigilance began 2 years before mom moved in with me.  When I started paying attention, I tried to make excuses for what I was seeing.  I wanted my mom to live the rest of her days independent, happy and loved.  But at some point my excuses were piling up.  I became vigilant without even knowing I was doing it.  I started my slow campaign for a move into a more secure and safe development - maybe one for seniors - with some oversight.  I really didn't think she need more than that.  At least at that point - it was what I thought.

After 2 years of discussions (and 2 years of her further decline), I realized she needed more than a little oversight!  I finally convinced her to move in with me.  Within one week of that move, I discovered just how far she had declined and how exceeding good she was at hiding that fact.

My gut, my vigilance for those 2 years was telling me a 'truth.'  She needed help!  I didn't realize how much help until she moved under my roof.

Over her last years my vigilance slowly expanded to all parts of her life:  medical appointments, medication administration, driving, illnesses, hospitalization, rehab stays, assisted living, and nursing care.  I literally became her voice, her eyes, her decision maker, and even her 'mother' when she got confused.  In her last days when she was unconscious waiting for death, the nursing home administered a drug to reduce her anxiety through the dying process.  I approved of that.  But they wanted to give her an oral drug - and she could not swallow!  It was to be administered under the tongue.  But it made her cough every time.  She was in a coma-like state - not aware of her surroundings, but she still required someone to be vigilant on her behalf.

If you have an elder person in your life - don't forget to really see them.  Don't see just what you want to see - really look, be aware, be vigilant.  Don't let that person slip through the safety net of their own world because you haven't been vigilant.





Wednesday, April 24, 2019

U - Unaware

U is for Unaware

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter


When my mom mentally began to fail in her late 70s, I was unaware of what was ahead.  I was unaware of exactly how much energy if would take of me to be her caregiver.  I was unaware that I would have to break promises I made to her regarding nursing home care.  I was unaware that as her brain failed her, I would find myself at times short of patience.  I was unaware of the total sacrifice of my personal health and emotional well-being I would have to make to care for her until her last breath.

I was unaware of so much.

What I did know was that I could not turn away, put her care in the hands of someone else at the first sign of problems ... not until I tried, until I had no choice.

Mom lived with me for 5 years and then 3 years in Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care.  At our first family meeting with the facility's disciplines of Nursing, Social Service and Life Enrichment, I marveled on how giving, caring, patient and engaging the staff was with my mom.  There was never a harsh or impatient word with her or any of the residents (and I visit a lot and watched a lot.)   I commented that I understood very intimately how hard this elder care was - because I had walked in their shoes for 5 long years.  I will never forget the Social Worker's response to my observation ... "Well, of course, we can do this well.  There are many of us and we work 8 hour shifts.  There was only one of you, and you worked 24/7."  I struggled to keep from tearing up in front of this stranger.  She was aware of the price I paid every single day - she knew very well the sacrifice that was needed.  For the first time in 5 years I felt understood.  Until that moment, rightly or wrongly, I felt I was surrounded by people who were unaware of what I gave of myself for my mom.

I believe that all caregivers who take on this vocation are unaware at some level and underestimate the personal expense it will demand.  It was an isolating life, and it is truly a 'marathon' with no finish line.

It has been 12 years since I moved mom into my home.  When I think of that decision and how unaware I was of the effort I was taking on - I look back and think ... would I do it again?

The answer is - yes!
The other "choice" I could not live with.
I have no regrets.

Would I want my children to take on this effort - on my behalf?
No.  Never.  And I have already told them so.
I know the cost.
Mothers protect their children.
They are unaware.



 





Tuesday, April 23, 2019

T - Time

T is for Time

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

Do you remember when you were young and Time seemed to pass ever so slowly?  You wanted Time to go by fast so you could get to the next thing!

  • the next birthday - especially the BIG ones: the first 'teen birthday,'  sweet 16 birthday, or the big - 21st birthday.
  • the big holidays - for me December dragged on so slowly till Christmas.
  • first day in first grade, graduation from high school, first day in college.

Curiously, the older you got, the faster time passed!  When my son signed up for the military and I dreaded the arrival of the day he left for boot camp.  He was on a delayed admission so we waited months before he left - but that time passed in a blink of an eye for me - probably dragged for him.

Time passes no faster or slower than it did centuries ago.  It is just our perception of the speed of time ... but I find it interesting that almost all people share the same perception.  It is probably the only perception in life that we share exactly the same way!

As I aged I looked forward to retirement and having more time.  No one really has more or less time.  Said properly - I would have more control of how I spent my Time in retirement - rather than having more of Time.  And that is the joy of retirement.  

What is not so joyful about Time and retirement is that I am older now.  I know my life span is limited - my Time is limited.  Maybe I have 10 more years, maybe I have 20 ... or maybe I have only 1.

Time becomes more precious - I don't want it to pass quickly. I want Time to stick around a bit longer.  I still have a looonnng list of things I would like to do and see with the Time I have left. 

As I get older the value I place on time is similar to the person who gets a devastating terminal diagnosis.  That person knows for a fact they don't have 10 years or 20 years or maybe not even 1.  What they do have rather suddenly is an increased value of Time.  They see each day, each hour, each minute through a different lens.

I am using a different lens now. 
My only regret - I didn't change lenses 
sooner.

Don't have regrets.
Change your lenses now!  







Monday, April 22, 2019

S - Swedish Death Cleaning

S is for Swedish Death Cleaning

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

Bet I got your attention with that title.  
It is a real thing and it caught my attention as well.

Swedish Death Cleaning for Beginners:
How to Declutter and Downsize your way to a happy home and life
by Sara Hodges.  

WOW - I thought.  Death Cleaning!  How is that different from any of the other declutter, downsize, minimize, frugality readings I have done?  Can there possibly be anything new "under the sun" on this series to topics that I haven't seen yet.

The simple answer is yes - and I have actually seen this done but did not realize what it was!

I am a long time down-sizer, a sometimes frugality proponent, and a dabbler in the minimalist movement!  I have done my fair share of reading on all those topics from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (from the 1990s) up to and including Marie Kondo's recent best seller  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Since the 1990s I have cleaned out, organized, downsized, decluttered and drove my self totally nuts - making room in a 2,200 square foot town house for returning family members to live.  First it was for my mother-in-law who was in hospice for lung cancer (yes, I was her caregiver too), then for a returning son after military service, then for a daughter during a down time, then for my mom who was no longer able to live on her own, and finally for myself and my husband as we did the traditional senior citizen downsize - to move into 1375 square feet of condo space. I thought I knew a lot about this topic - 'cause I had lots of practice.

What could this little book offer me - except the answer to what was 'death cleaning.'

Grims-ville!  I thought.
 So, of course, I read on!!


What the heck is Death Cleaning?

The author says it best on the first page of Chapter 1 ...

"To put it simply, the art of Swedish death cleaning is about ridding your home of possessions that you don't want, need or use, so when you do happen to kick the bucket, your loved ones are not left with the grave emotional task of shifting through 80+ years of your stuff.  It's a blatantly honest approach to decluttering your home and a very transparent way to look at all the things that you possess."

Light bulb time!  
Ok, I get it!
Clean out your own stuff
So your relatives don't have to do it for you.

I will say that the words "art" in relation to throwing things out ... and "kick the bucket" in relation to dying - made me smile a bit.

Before you say why should I care about Death Cleaning - let me share a story about an uncle that my cousin shared with me.

My Uncle Walter died the month before my mom.  His son, my cousin, called me a month later to offer his condoences.  We hadn't chatted in probably 30 years.  But we both lost parents within a month of each other.  It was good to talk.

Uncle Walter lived in the same house he brought his bride to in the 1950s.  He died in 2014 and his wife pre-deceased him by many years.  You might anticipate, expect, understand ... if his house was filled to the brim with all the little items of living until 90 and on his own as a widower for many years.  But you would be wrong.  At his death, he left behind a totally cleaned out house - with only the items he needed to live.  His closets were totally bare except for his one personal clothes closet, excess furniture was gone, surfaces were totally clear.  My cousin said when they entered the house after his father's death to prepare it for sale - they discovered the wonderful gift he left behind for his children ... a house that required no cleaning, no repair and no clean out!  NONE!

My Uncle did 'death cleaning' without knowing about this topic or book.

So death cleaning may not be important to you - but it is a wonderful last gift to give the ones who love you.

Yes, I have swept my life clean of things that were redundant and unnecessary in downsizing to this smaller condo.  But I am not done yet.  My downsize journey going forward with be for a different audience other than myself.  It will be for my children - so when they are in the midst of grieving (after I kick the bucket,) they won't have to be further weighed down by the weight of all my stuff.




Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Update - Walking and other stuff

Hello all

Happy Easter to those who celebrate this religious holiday.

Just a little update - in between all the A-2-Z postings.

I missed last Sunday's check in.  I didn't want to miss today's check in.

The bad news is nothing to report on walking ... because ... I have been too sick to do anything beyond take naps, stare at the TV with glassy eyes or listen to an audio book.  I thought this might be another cold (6th of the season), but, no, nothing simple like a cold. After 4 days of increasing symptoms I visited a mini-clinic near me.  Flu A, was the diagnosis.  Apparently it was a strain that was not covered by my flu shot.

Friday was my birthday.  It was a pretty miserable day - feeling terrible - rain - and all our weekend plans cancelled.

Saturday morning I woke up even worse.  Could . Not . Swallow!!  Eyes both blood shot red red red.  So I returned to the clinic ... who bounced me to the ER!  Six hours later - after fluids to get me hydrated and a CAT scan of my neck and a push of steroids through the IV to shrink my swollen throat and blood work, and new prescription drugs - the diagnosis still is  .... All Flu.  Flu.  Flu.

And Saturday night, while I was feeling half way to human again - my husband spiked a temp of 102.6.  We are not out of the woods yet, I fear.

Walking??  Well, its been over 2 weeks since my shoes have hit the pavement - no walking unless you count the steps from the living room recliner with TV to the bedroom and back again (between naps.). The flu really takes it out of you.

All I can say is I am glad that I wrote and scheduled all the A-2-Z postings in March.  At least that goes on without me.  I am behind visiting the blogs in the challenge, but may be able to catch up at some point.

While I am in a flu-coma I am listening to the audio book Gone With The Wind.  I know I read the book a very long time ago and I saw the movie and I probably listened to this audio version before - but it has been great fun to hear the story again - and at 44+ hours of listening (long book), it should distract me until I am more well.  There is a lot of civil war history in this story, of course, but it is the kind of history I really enjoy:  how people lived, what was important to them, what that war was like for the civilians - the inside story that is often missed in factual retelling of history books.

I'll check back next Sunday with an update when I am not a human germ making machine (hopefully.)



Saturday, April 20, 2019

R - Rollercoaster

R is for Rollercoaster





I sometimes think of the stages of life like amusement park rides.

Image result for carousel free clipart
123RF.com

Infancy and childhood

 Merry-go-round: safe, colorful, happy, great memories, different ways to ride - in carriage, or up and down on a horse, or on a stable giraffe.  Innocents.  Joy.  Learning.  Loving.  Eyes wide open.  Parents near by.  All is wonderful.

Image result for fun house clip art
iStock

Teen Years

Fun House - only sometimes not so fun for teens or their parents.  Ride in to the Fun House and expect the unexpected:  scared, happy, laughing, screaming, crying, and when the ride is over, come out the other side whole (hopefully) and happy that you don't have to go through THAT again!

Image result for ferris wheel clipart
Clip Art Mag
Adult life

Ferris wheel - predictable highs and lows, time to interact with the world from a rather high safe position, without too much risk, but ... as with anything there is always some risk.  Sometimes people fall off those things and get injured or die before they get to the final ride - rare, but it happens.  Just like in life.




Image result for roller coaster clipart
clip-art.com

Elderly Life

A Rollercoaster - especially the roller coasters of old.  Those rickety ones made of wood (that rollercoaster enthusiasts say are the best) and are pretty dangerous.

Now prepare for the 'thrill' ride of your life,
(and prepare yourself for the longest run on sentence you will ever read.)

The ride starts out slow with a steady creep upward, feeling good, life is grand, the view feels free and open, you can see it all, no work - just play, free time to spare, and pulled along predictably by life,  nearing the top ...  until a sudden down turn hits (usually an illness) catching you by surprise,  and the slide down may be fast and huge ...  until things level out a bit and you begin to climb again, out of that health-hole slowly, regaining strength and health, the view improves again, you near the top ... until you come to another downturn, surprised AGAIN, your brain says this can't be, and reaching a new lower level then before ... but then you rise slowly up, improving and improving, looking for the view which is beyond your reach, and never as high up as before,  but you settle for a 'new normal,'  the view is not so grand but you cope ... and so repeats the up and down of the senior experience with new lower normals each time you fall.

That, dear friends, is the amusement park of life!
Not always fun, but I would argue,
 it is definitely worth the trip!!

After all, 
the view from the very top of that first hill on the rollercoaster
 is spectacular
as is the whole ride of life!!