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Showing posts from 2017

The Christmas Magnet

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, Christmas is usually a time for family and friend celebration. It can also be a sad time in boomer world because the holiday season of our adulthood or ‘seniorhood’ doesn’t live up to that of our youth.

I used to have serious holiday depression, especially after my Dad died in a November several years ago. My life turned around in a positive direction about five years ago. That Christmas I was alone and on my own again after more than fifteen years of what turned into a very dysfunctional relationship and marriage.

Being alone during the holidays could be very depressing but that was not the case with me.  Christmas Day that year was my third day alone in a new apartment and I woke up with a smile, brewed some coffee and opened moving boxes till I found my stereo. Me, coffee, Christmas music = happiness.

Back in my ‘holiday depression’ years I could feel sadness for days at a time through November and December. A trip back to New Orleans, the sou…

The Celebrity Perp Parade

Long time CBS anchor and PBS host Charlie Rose, Senator and former comedian Al Franken, and now longtime NBC anchor Matt Lauer are all accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.

It shouldn’t surprise me after working in media for 40 years that what you see is not always what you get. We create images. On the news side, media outlets try to create an image of honesty and integrity. News anchors seem to be trustworthy. Charlie Rose appeared a bit arrogant to me, but also looked intelligent and honest. Matt Lauer appeared to be an honest family man and grateful for the positive turns in his career. Neither seemed like the kind of men who would engage in sexually inappropriate behavior.

And as I began to write this post, news broke that Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame was fired from PBS for sexually inappropriate behavior. That is hard to believe.

Image. Image. Image.

Politicians, on the other hand, often seem like corrupt, untrustworthy liars. Franken, however, did not se…

It Feels Like

Sometimes 2017 feels like 1968. Boomers might remember 1968 as a year filled with anti-war demonstrations, ‘race riots’ and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

The Vietnam War was escalating and the somewhat controversial Richard Nixon won the presidential election in November.   He only beat his Democratic opponent Hubert Humphrey by 500,000 of the 70-million votes cast, but his Electoral College win was a landslide. Racist 3rd-party candidate George Wallace received almost 10-million votes and won five states in Electoral College votes including, sadly, my home state of Louisiana.

Nixon actually did a few positive things not always associated with Republican leaders. He ended a war (Vietnam) and created the Environmental Protection Agency. He also established some positive relations with China. But like the current Trump administration, the Nixon camp was full of corruption. Spiro Agnew, his first Vice President, was forced to resign early in his second…

Accepting Some Reality

Older people generally experience more health issues than younger people. Us boomers are officially in the ‘older people’ category so it should not surprise us when we get sick. But I have been so incredibly healthy from age 7 till around 55, that I am still surprised when I get sick now that I’m over 60.

Fortunately I react to illness differently at this point in my life than in my 20s, or even my 40s. If I had 102 fever back then, I’d call in sick for a day or two till my temp got down to 99-ish. Sneezing, coughing, fatigue, sore throat... so what? I can work.

Now? I took a whole week of sick days last month and worked half the next week from home. Fever between 99 and 102 every day turned out to be walking pneumonia. Third week: normal. Late during the fourth week: fever returned. This time it was not pneumonia or even flu ... just some random infection. I stayed home and my temp was just over 99 all day.

What I’m trying to articulate here is that I am paying much more attention t…

Was Gene From Outer Space?

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There’s a theory floating around that some amazing structures in the world, like the great pyramids of Egypt, were actually designed or built by visitors from advanced civilizations from other planets. It is a theory that seems believable when you consider the primitive technology of 4000 years ago and how difficult it would have been to invent and built such incredible structures.

In the 2000 BC, there were no engines, no computers and the average Egyptian probably still believed the earth was flat and the sun and everything else they observed in the sky revolved around our planet.

Technology in the middle of the boomer era seems primitive by today’s standards. In 1966, for example, many TVs were still black and white, telephones were connected by wire to wall outlets that were connected to wired networks. Recorded music was played on 7-inch or 12-inch vinyl disks; a ‘record player’ wouldn’t fit in your pocket like today’s iPods or phones. Elevators in some buildings still had human…

Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful idea, but it takes a lot more than one day to truly express thanks and gratitude for all the positives in my life.

This Thanksgiving was especially nice for me because my sister was visiting for most of the week.

So here are few random, significant things I’m thankful for this year:

- The aforementioned sister visit.

- The 4th anniversary (last week) of meeting the love of my life. And that means everything going forward is our 5th. So this is our 5th Thanksgiving.

- I’m still keeping up at work, even though many co-workers are half my age.

- My health is good, overall, and my positive attitude helps offset the somewhat negative aspects of living with MS.

- I’m thankful for fellow blogger Elizinashe, who in real life is one of my best friends. She helped me during a transitional part of my life a few years ago, which ultimately helped me be the person I am now, which helped me attract the aforementioned love of my life.

- I’m thankful for the caring, s…

Why Can't EVERYBODY See This?

Boomers generally grew into adulthood as independent thinkers. Many of us rejected things our parents taught us about politics, religion and life. We were the rebels. Aging sent some of us back to those earlier beliefs we rejected or to a blend of the best parts of what we were taught and what we grew to believe on our own.

One cohesive belief, in my opinion and observation, is that we are free. Freedom is an overriding part of what makes the USA great.

We are free to believe what we want, we are free to vote for candidates of our choice, we are free to debate issues and we are free to agree to disagree. We are supposed to be free to express our beliefs without retribution. Our press is supposed to be free to question and investigate the sincerity or accuracy of statements made by our elected officials.

Even though I would not have voted for trump last year, even if he was the only candidate on the ballot, I understand why many people did vote for him. He was fearless in expressing h…

Third Chapter

A boomer buzzword I’ve heard lately is ‘third chapter’. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, it’s two words.  The term ‘third chapter’ refers to a portion of a senior’s life. First chapter, growing up, second chapter, career and raising a family, third chapter, retirement and/or Post-career career.

In my case, that first chapter lasted longer than it should have. My adolescent immaturity stretched into my 20s in many ways. Chapter Two was mostly about career, but I never did raise a family.

So now, like many boomers, I’m contemplating Chapter Three. We’re often told this is the time and opportunity to finally do what we’ve always wanted to do. In my case, I’ve been doing most of what I always wanted to do for the past 43 years.

What do I do now?

I realize I ask this question a lot in this blog. Sometimes my answer is to continue doing what I do, but maybe cut back the quantity. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking that maybe there are a few things I’ve always wanted to do that I haven’t done yet…

Knee

Ears, eyes, noses, throats, legs and arms are probably pretty jealous lately. Why?  Because knees are getting all the attention.

Football players taking a knee during the National Anthem started as a statement by one player, with the intention of drawing attention to social injustices in our great country. Other players have since joined in on this practice and a national conversation about race, the 1st Amendment, patriotism, policy and law is the result.

Sadly, the conversation is often more of a shouting match and the loudest voices are at each extreme ends of the debate over the appropriateness of taking a knee, rather than the original issue.

As each side digs their heels in (more body parts), the conversation has become more about perceived patriotism, or perceived lack of patriotism, than about the social injustices that led to this behavior. The loudest voices ignore the underlying issue and forget that kneeling is in its own way a sign of respect. Those players are not turnin…

Click Click Click

A late-morning Wednesday in October.

News
Wendy Williams talks to Joan Rivers’ daughter
Vaping made simple


I was home alone, sick, sitting on my living room sofa. Channel surfing.

Darius Rucker performing on The View
The Price Is Right.
Harry Connick trying to make us believe he can host his own show
.

I was so bored. Too feverish and weak to work from home or to exercise. Not up to writing anything more significant than these few observations.

Whiney ultra-right, arrogant talking heads on Fox.
Whiney ultra-left, arrogant talking heads on MSNBC
.

I am rarely sick, so I’m way out of my usual behavioral comfort zone when I’m so sick that I stay home. In my 40s, even 50s, I would have gone to the office, armed with DayQuil and determination, totally ignoring how that attitude is bad for my health and not thinking that I might be contagious. Now I sit here all concerned. And bored.

Days Of Our Lives
Hair growth miracle.
Ellen.


Well, that was my whole Wednesday, except for the inconclusive doct…

A Scam Or Not A Scam

I must have "nice guy" tattooed on my forehead. Or sucker. People, total strangers, seem to single me out when they need something.

I was in the middle of a group of several people exiting the grocery store recently when a young woman sheepishly approached me with sad eyes and a story. She said her car wouldn't start, she had called police and others and needed twenty seven dollars; even one dollar would help, anything. She appeared to be in her thirties and dressed in typical casual attire for the neighborhood and the season. She said she could show me her driver's license, credit cards, etc., I assume to prove she wasn't just scamming me. I told her I thought there was an ATM in the store and she spoke a partial sentence indicating that wouldn't work.

I told her I was sorry but I only used cards, didn't have cash and couldn't help her; all lies, by the way. There are a few reasons why I didn't want to give her twenty seven dollars ... I was ske…

Jealous

Boomers get credit for many wonderful things ... DNA fingerprinting, the artificial heart,  Bob Dylan, the Internet, Viagra.

But boomers, as a group, aren't prepared for retirement. It seems that our parents saved and saved and saved; we spend, spend, spend.

Some of us got it right, however, and I'm jealous of them. Many of my bar friends are retired. They travel to exciting places like Italy, Ireland, Thailand, New Jersey. They live in houses that are paid for or close to being paid for.

Some of them worked their asses off to reach this delicious point in their lives and now reap the rewards. Some of them were blessed to have the resources to live these adventures while working.

I'm doing my best to not be jealous of their good fortune or good planning. Sometimes I have to force myself to remember that I've had a great life up to this point. I played and spent more than saved, so now I still have to work. Retirement won't be at all what I had hoped.

The point is …

Count To Twenty

Try this experiment (you'll need a partner in another room, house or city).

First, pick a starting time, then wait twenty minutes. Now phone your partner and after she says hello, wait twenty minutes, then respond.

Your partner should then wait for twenty minutes after your response, then wait another twenty minutes to begin a conversation.  Each response in the conversation should be separated by twenty minutes for the send and a pretend twenty minutes for the receive.

That is how a conversation between a person on Earth and a person on Mars would play out. The signal takes twenty minutes in each direction.

The effect of a twenty-minute delay in communication was one of many factors being studied during an 8-month isolation experiment that ended a couple of months ago. Six NASA volunteers lived in a 1200-square-foot structure near a volcano in Hawaii. Picture 6 people living together inside a two bedroom, one bath apartment for eight months, with no option to go outside without …

Wet Perspective

If you want just a hint of what people in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico are going through, shut off the water in your house for a weekend. Our water heater sprung a big leak on a recent Saturday morning. Fortunately the maintenance super was already on the property fixing another problem (on his day off). He couldn't replace the water heater till Monday and had to shut off water to the entire apartment because the water heater shut off valve was also broken.

Picture routine water-related activities you take for granted: flushing toilets, brushing teeth, making coffee, rinsing dishes after breakfast, taking meds, cooking almost anything. I lost count of how many times I instinctively turned on a faucet, sometimes after already pumping soft soap into my hands.

Fortunately we could turn the water back on a few times for a few minutes to flush toilets and fill containers and we could use a guest apartment to take showers.

Our 'ordeal' only lasted two days. Most residents of Puert…

Knee

Ears, eyes, noses, throats, legs and arms are probably pretty jealous lately. Why?  Because knees are getting all the attention.

Football players taking a knee during the National Anthem started as a statement by one player, with the intention of drawing attention to social injustices in our great country. Other players have since joined in on this practice and a national conversation about race, the 1st Amendment, patriotism, policy and law is the result.

Sadly, the conversation is often more of a shouting match and the loudest voices are at each extreme end of the debate over the appropriateness of taking a knee rather than the original issue.

As each side digs their heels in (more body parts), the conversation has become more about perceived patriotism, or perceived lack of patriotism, than about the social injustices that led to this behavior. The loudest voices ignore the underlying issue and forget that kneeling is in its own way a sign of respect. Those players are not turning…

No Words

It’s hard to mentally process the mass shooting in Las Vegas last night.  Fifty-eight people are dead, at the time I’m writing this, and more than 500 are injured.  The shooter is a 64-year-old retired accountant from Orlando who lives in a retirement community near Vegas.  He killed himself as police were breaking into the hotel room where he was doing the shooting.
The casualties were among the 20,000-plus fans at the third day of a country music festival.  Jason Aldean was singing the third line of one of his hits when he dropped his guitar and ran off the stage.  He probably couldn’t hear the shots, but he saw the crowd reacting and I’m guessing a sound tech was able to warn him in his ear monitors.
The videos and news reports I’ve seen so far show the obvious panic.  Nobody knew where to run.  The tendency is to head toward the entrance where you came in, but it turns out that was the spot most in the sights of the shooter.  Artists who were still there when Aldean was performin…

Red, White, Blue and Gray

Red White Blue and Gray
The sunny, blue sky helped to keep me calm as I inched south in a typical Tuesday traffic jam on I-270 on the way to a 9am doctor appointment in Bethesda. I had already called the doctor's office to say I'd be late.
The DJs and traffic reporter, co-workers at the radio station I work for, were laughing about who knows what when suddenly one of them said "Oh my God."  A few seconds of silence was followed by "it looks like a plane hit the World Trade Center in New York."
The next few minutes were filled with hopeful speculation that maybe it was just a small plane that veered off course and hit the tower. That would be a tragedy, of course, but probably would mostly result in few deaths, few injuries, little structural damage to the building and maybe a few months of investigative reporting about air traffic control and pilot training.
As I left my annual physical exam three hours later, I simultaneously faced traffic gridlock of an eva…

Today

We talk about tomorrow
But we've only got today.

(From a Keith Urban song)

The concept of carpe diem, seize the day, is both appealing and elusive.

Living for today, living like there's no tomorrow because tomorrow is not promised, live like you were dying (doing those things you've been putting off, knowing that this is your last chance to do them) ... all of those things line a great conceptual path to a rich life.

Work, commuting, living up to expectations and obligations, work, laundry, cooking, paying bills and work ... all of those things set up obstacles on that path.

How do we find a balance?  How do we live for today, knowing it could be our last day, while keeping an eye on tomorrow, knowing there's a decent chance we will see a tomorrow?

Those are questions I ask every day. What about you?

The closest strategy I have to answer that question is this: carve out at least a little bit of "today" time every day, celebrate that action and do something, ho…

Sixty

Moments after planting your butt in a molded plastic seat, a sturdy u-shaped bar gently inches down across your chest, locking you in place. Your significant other is strapped into the seat to your right. A few duos are ahead of you, several more are behind you. A buzzer sounds and seconds later you're jolted forward, quickly accelerating up a forty-five degree incline.

You are relatively confident you won't be flung into the abyss at the top, emphasis on 'relatively'. You think you know what's on the other side but you're not .... whoaaa ... down you go, sixty miles an hour, maybe more, a quick twist to the left, then right, then slowly up again, now down quickly, a sharp left, up, over, dowwwwnnnn ... a twisted spiral, upside down, twice, shit, didn't see that coming, climbing again ....

Being in your 60s is an amusement park experience someone who is 30 can't really imagine. You watch other people going through it, you see them safely glide to the p…

At What Point?

At what point do childhood memories fade away and why do they sometimes come crashing back, unannounced, for no reason with no prompting?

My sister and I were in a carpool during my first few years of school. My Mother didn't drive, therefore she couldn't really take a turn as the driver, but the other mothers were ok with that. Mom usually came along for the ride, but not always.

I remember Mrs. Collins and her son Mike. And their 1957 Chevrolet. I don't remember the other moms or their cars. I do remember the time, probably in 2nd or 3rd grade, when I couldn't find the car that was supposed to take me home. I walked up and down the street looking, but didn't recognize any cars or mothers. Eventually all the cars were gone and I was still there, confused, scared and crying.

One of the older kids who helped the adult crossing guards asked me what was wrong. I told him. Fortunately I knew my address and this kid offered to walk me home. My mom was scared and worrie…

How Do They Do It With All That Noise?

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Wine bottles in wood display cases lining the walls from near the front to the back, huge wood-framed mirrors on the only remaining wall space, wooden chairs and bar stools lined up along tiled tables down the entire center, concrete floors ... that's the decorative, functional layout of one of my neighborhood wine bars. All of those lovely surfaces reflect sound, in effect amplifying the sound of conversations among fifty or more customers.

At the front, just inside the sound reflecting floor-to-ceiling glass windows and door, is a musician singing his heart out, playing favorites from three decades as well as a few originals. He's pretty good but he's background music to the customers. Those sitting closest to him are paying attention and applauding at the end of each song. The rest of us are aware that he's there but our conversations and beverages are the focus of activity.  The talking is louder than the singing. The total reflected sound level is close to deafen…

Why the Hell Do I Know All These Songs?

Many boomers grew up in an era of musicals and variety shows. Songs from those performances became a part of our lives and hearing them now can transport us back in time in unexpected ways.

The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly In the Plain
Get Me To the Church On Time


I saw the musical "My Fair Lady" at a local theatre this week. As far as I know, I've seen the movie only once, back in the 1960s, and have never seen this as a live stage play. Yet I knew nearly every song.

I Could Have Danced All Night

Why the hell do I know all these songs?  Maybe singers on variety TV shows sang them. Maybe we had the soundtrack on vinyl and maybe our parents played it, although I don't remember that.

On the Street Where You Live
I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face


Is this aging or is it me: when I hear these songs, and other songs like them from my youth, I get teary-eyed. It's almost embarrassing but it happens all the time. Sometimes I wish I didn't react this way.

Wouldn't…

Predicting the Future

Shopping at home, plugging in your car, reaching for a phone in your pocket where cash used to be, watching a round disk vacuum your den while you change channels by speaking your selection.  These are things Boomers saw on Star Trek or the Jetsons in the 1960s but might not have expected to become reality, even as recently as ten years ago.

Shopping at home isn't new; remember or heard of the Sears catalog?  You'd flip though pages of product pictures and descriptions in a book the size of a telephone directory (hmmm, remember those?). You would phone in or mail in your choices and likely write a check to pay for your purchase; two weeks later your stuff would arrive at your door.

Shopping at home today? Browse the products on your mobile device, tap your choices and the Complete Your Purchase button, which also verifies your stored address and credit card number and two days later your stuff arrives at your door. Some items ordered through Amazon Prime can arrive on the sam…

How Long

Zero-year milestones, especially birthdays, attract plenty of attention. Hundred year birthdays get even more attention. There are an estimated 72,197 Americans age 100 or more, according to a 2014 CDC report, 44% more than in 2000. I want to be one of them some day.

Living to be 100 used to be some kind of miracle but improvements in lifestyle choices and medical advances have increased the chances of becoming a centenarian.

That said, it seems very few celebrities make it to the triple digit mark. Famous people have the financial resources to survive but many don't. Of course money isn't the only factor leading to a long life, but my sense of logic says it should help.

Adam West, the original TV Batman from the 1960s, died recently at age 88 from Leukemia.  Others this year: Gregg Allman, 69. Erin Moran, Joanie on Happy Days, 56, cancer. Judge Wapner almost made it, 97. Roger Moore, several James Bond movies, cancer, 89. Jonathan Demme, Silence of the Lambs director, cancer…

Letters

In a world where communication is often 140 characters or less, a letter seems ancient. A letter on paper, mailed via the US Postal Service rather than emailed, seems prehistoric.

A friend recently blogged about letters written within her family decades ago. They were nestled in boxes of family treasures her Dad delivered to her as part of a downsizing purge of their family home.  Her blog reminded me of letters my Mom wrote to me during the years after I moved away from New Orleans.

Letters were among the few family treasures that survived the floods of Hurricane Katrina. A few years ago my sister sent me a box full of letters I wrote my parents and I read a few during my own downsizing purge last month. Some were letters I sent them in the 1970s and 1980s. Other letters I found in that same room were letters Mom wrote me during that era.

What I really wish I had were letters my parents wrote to each other. I assume they did write each other during their courtship but I've never…

House Shirt Coffee

As I entered the oak-paneled family room of an unfamiliar house, I saw a tall, muscular man facing away from me looking out the window. He looked a lot like Arnold from behind. He turned around. Wow, it was Arnold. Yes, THAT Arnold.

He asked, in his distinctive accented voice, if he could borrow a shirt. I told him yes but said it won't fit. He laughed as I handed him one of my white dress shirts.

Moments later, or so it seemed, I entered another room to say I was leaving. I realized it was a bedroom and a beautiful young woman lay beside Arnold in the bed. She was under the covers from the neck down, facing me; Arnold was asleep facing away from me.

As I turned to leave, I heard a sultry female voice ask if there was any coffee in this house. I turned around to see the beautiful walking my way, dressed only in a man's dress shirt. My shirt. The one I had lent Arnold.

Yes, coffee. Follow me.

Then I woke up. I have the oddest dreams.

Quiet and Alone

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Unlike most people I know, I am completely comfortable being alone. It is not necessarily my preferred state, but it is well within my comfort zone.

It is early Sunday morning in the middle of a four-day holiday weekend. I am sitting alone on my patio soaking in the 72-degree temperature, watching the sunshine/shade line crawl across the courtyard on a slow journey toward the flowers lining the patio railing. Chirping birds punctuate the hum of a nearby air conditioner. The only other sounds are from passing cars, a Harley, the clink of a spoon as it scoops up cereal from a bowl to my mouth and the rustling of paper as I search for "continued on C6" in today's Washington Post.

I've only heard three voices this morning: the friendly greeting from a barking dog, a "good morning" from a neighbor in the fitness room across the street and the voice in my head sounding out a text message from the love of my life, who spent the night in her mother's hospital …

FB and the Wild Wild West

The wife and husband friends who owned the farm I lived on for a couple of years more than forty years ago.  Another friend from that same era who now lives in Hawaii. A former coworker who was also briefly a roommate. Several former coworkers from various decades of my career. Two or three old girlfriends and one ex wife. Three or four friends who live thirty miles away but who I rarely see in person. Current friends I've known less than four years. Current coworkers and colleagues. Cousins who I hadn't seen in years.

That's just a partial list of around 400 of my Facebook friends. Some of them are real friends and some are just acquaintances. I have met all but a handful of them and generally don't accept friend requests if I don't really know them or at least know who they are.

Facebook is at times wild, odd, annoying, helpful, revealing and beneficial. Because of Facebook, I found people from my past who I really did want to reconnect with. I also found people…

Dad Again

I'm surprised by how much my Dad is on my mind this month. Yeah, yeah, Father's Day, Hallmark cards, Facebook posts, tv commercials ... it's all part of June every year. It's usually the subject of only one post for me, not three.

My Dad and I had an up and down relationship between my teens and thirties, as I mentioned before, but today I'm immersed in positive thoughts about him and his influence on me; and I promised I'd return to positive posts. So this is one.

He was the ultimate problem-solver. He believe he could solve virtually any problem and fix nearly any broken thing if he could spend enough time studying it. He engaged in his hobbies with professional level skill. He was the family's TV repairman and nearly every cousin has a story about some TV "Uncle Benny" fixed. Most TVs in our house were repaired hand-me-downs until he was finally talked into buying a new one.

He was handy with carpentry. He built our house, for example. Literall…

Dads Day

A psychologist told me after my Dad died more than 15 years ago that grief never really goes away, if just changes over time. She said we should ignore suggestions to 'get over it'. Each of us processes grief and loss in different ways. Intense internal emotional pain can transform into mild sadness in a few months or a few years or never. Nobody else has the right to force their timeline on any of us.

My grief process, in the case of my Dad's death, is like a roller coaster. I held it together the week he died, from the time in the nursing home when I watched him take his last breath till two minutes after they slid his casket into the designated slot in the mausoleum days later. Then as I rolled my Mother in her wheelchair down a long hall back to the limo, I lost it, sobbing all the way down the hall, my sister on one side and a cousin on the other. That same cousin's fraternal twin brother died this week and my grief over his death combined with this being Father&…

The Dad Book

(This is a repost.I realized today that the original was missing the last couple of paragraphs).

"You did a great job raising your kids."

"Thank you."

Months later, as I replayed that last meaningful conversation I had with my Dad in my head, I wondered if he knew he was talking with one of his kids. The facial expression I remember could have been saying he thought he was talking with someone else about his kids. Why the hell didn't I phrase my comment in first person. "You did a great job raising us."

That's the tricky thing about Parkinson's-related dementia: it's hard to tell if the person you're chatting with is in or out of a dementia episode. It's equally challenging to determine if he or she knows they're in or out of an episode.

Dad was aware at some point that he experienced dementia. He told me once that he knew what he saw outside of the kitchen window was the roof of the house next door, but sometimes he was certai…

Write Write Write

I am on a serious role writing this week/month/year. Blog ideas hit me almost every day and many turn into publishable posts. This is the third one I've written today, although I like to spread out the posting a bit.

I fantasized being a writer at some point in my youth. I determined early in college that writing for a living is not a good path for someone who wants stability. I also did not have much confidence in my writing skills, even though my SAT scores led to advanced placement in English courses.

My confidence level is higher now, but I still don't see this as a stable income generator; but maybe writing could be part of a retirement income mix. Hmmmm.

Five published authors are loosely in my social circle. Four of them have written personal, somewhat autobiographical books and the fifth recently published her second novel. None of them make a living writing books but the novelist does make some or all of her income as a freelance reporter.

For years I've felt I h…

MS Stress Mess and Be Yourself

Stress is a significant symptom trigger for those of us who live with Multiple Sclerosis. We are advised to reduce stress. We are also encouraged to not let MS get in the way of living our best lives.

I regularly advise others to reduce stress in their lives and I try to practice what I preach. Funny thing about me (or not so funny): many things are stressful to me. Airplane travel is one of them. I don't really have fear of flying; I do have fear of inconvenience and delays.

My travel companion(s) are probably annoyed by my timeline. I get to airports early. Very early. Two or three hours early. I build in time buffers to allow for traffic jams, parking hassles, long security checkpoint lines, etc. This strategy is based on numerous past situations that resulted in running through airports, something I refuse to do any more, even if I could. I've also encountered massive traffic jams that resulted in missed flights. Not any more, if I can help it. I'd rather be early and…

Breathe

It's unusual for me to spend 4 days in New Orleans without saying a word on Facebook or posting a picture, but recently I did. The visit could have been sad because it involved my cousin in hospice care, presumably near death, and another cousin also living with or in the process of dying from lung cancer.

I directly and indirectly reached out to each of them, with no response at the time I booked my flight.

The first two days in my hometown were spent with first and second cousins I've had little contact with for decades. Conversation, catching up, seafood, mimosas, quiet porch swing chatting next to a calming, lazy river. Unexpected, peaceful, awesome, rewarding family bonding.

Well-timed phone calls on the third day resulted in a well-spent hour with the cousin in hospice care. He spends most days in a dark brown lounge chair in his dark paneled living room, knowing any of those days could be his last. His hair and body are much thinner than the last time I saw him three y…

Turquoise

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Two turquoise chairs topped with a blue-green-yellow-white pillow each snuggle with two round plexiglass tables, sharing a 6 by 8 space with two plants, a small metal shelf unit, a stone owl and me. The tables are topped with round yellow place mats; one is covered by my lunch and the other with a book.

The steady hum of the neighborhood is punctuated by the occasional passing car, chirping bird, buzzing lawn mower and almost-synchronized footsteps of the property manager and three prospective tenants getting a tour.

It's early afternoon in early June and I'm on vacation. I travelled early in the week but now I'm home, soaking in an unscheduled Thursday on my patio, wondering if this is what retirement is like.

It's peaceful yet busy today. A FedEx truck pauses as a Waste Management truck turns the corner on the way to the next dumpster. The early-morning sidewalk repair crew packs up for the day; same thing for the landscapers. Two neighbors, a stay-at-home mom and h…

They Were Always There

In the mind-numbing, uncertain, challenging, fun, just "slightly on the edge" pursuit of career dreams, you knew they were always there. You left home to chase the dream, knowing friends and family would always be there. Visits home grew less frequent but you always knew that each time you returned, Mom, Dad, sister, grandparents, cousins and friends would be there.

Months became years became decades. You knew they'd be there, or so you thought. Then, one by one, they weren't there. A grandparent dies, then an aunt, an uncle, a college friend who you lost contact with ten years earlier.

Gone.

Still, you knew the rest of them would still be there.

When I say you I really mean I.

Now the remaining ones are my generation and some of them are dying. They are NOT there. Now I'm dealing with a toxic mix of grief and regret. Regret that I didn't go home and spend time with them as I chased my dreams. Every city I've lived in is less that three hours from where …