2016: Birthdays, Friendship, Olympics

This post is a tribute to friendship and a testimony to how women’s lives have improved in my lifetime. 70 years old greeting cardThis year, 2016, I turned 70 and so did many of my friends, including my college room-mate Maxene. She was given a surprise party by her husband, who asked all of the guests to write a letter, poem, or story to be bound in book as a gift for her…an appropriate gift because Max is very close to publishing her own book, a memoir. Of course, I went to her party.  Flew to Atlanta on Labor Day. This has been a hard year for my friend, she has struggled through many months of health issues, which alone was a big reason to be there for her. But, more importantly, Max and I have a lasting bond, a connection that I share with no one else.
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Independent Living in a Senior Community

Hawaiian MomMy mom has been living “independently” in Preston Pointe, a small senior community in North Carolina, for eight months …and (to her own surprise) she is loving it. She came here reluctantly with great fear and trepidation, agreeing to stay only three months as an escape from the harsh New York winter. This was quite brave of her, approaching 90, unsteady on her feet, and very hard-of-hearing, having never lived anywhere else and leaving all her friends and some family to do it. I did my research but had no experience with these type of facilities so I had my own set of doubts filled with nursing home nightmares.

Turns out, it was a good choice and worth the effort. We are both very happy with the arrangements and I encourage others to consider this option for their parents.
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Reflections on Retirement

Happy RetirementI am approaching one year of retirement (or unemployment, however you look at it) and am surprised about some of my reactions and feelings. The positive ones were happily anticipated and mostly predictable. I enjoy longer, more relaxed trips when I travel. Gone are the tedious teleconference calls, meaningless meetings, and aggressive (impossible) deadlines. I am free from corporate politics and the compromises I had to make to play the game. Relief from this kind of stress is wonderful, a deliverance, like getting out of jail. No surprises here. Other things have been a mixed bag.
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AutoCorrect: A View of Your Auditory Future

AutoCorrect, love it or hate it? This week, the New York Times Magazine had a short feature about it. Me, I mostly love it. I am a lousy, self-taught typist. I went to high school in the “olden days” when men were men and women were girls. Only the students in the secretarial track took typing classes. I wasn’t one of them.

four people holding mobile phones
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I truly love AutoCorrect when I am typing something on a full computer keyboard and it fixes all the common typos for me; “teh” automatically becomes “the”, and “studnet” is transformed into “student” before I realize my mistakes. A god-send! On more complicated choices, some programs flag the suspect word and let me choose the correct spelling. Wow, even better!

But when I am texting, this exuberant love diminishes. I make more mistakes texting because the virtual keyboard is small and my fingers often miss the key, and because I text while distracted — cooking, on line in the grocery store, in the car (but only while stopped). I also use acronyms and texting abbreviations, which aren’t always recognized. Unless I intervene, the correction provided in a pop-up balloon is not a suggestion but the actual replacement. I often miss the opportunity to stop it and touch “Send” too soon. The results varies from helpful, to confusing, to hilarious. Sound familiar?
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The Burden of Sexual Attraction

It is well known that in the bird world males are the flamboyant, colorful characters, sporting bright plumage and singing about their assets to attract the less conspicuous females. I envy those lucky chicks who can hide in the foliage, quietly watching and judging all the song-and-dance routines before making their choice for this season’s nest-mate.


In the human world, we gals don’t have it as easy.  Sexual attraction is our burden, much to the delight and profit of world’s fashion, cosmetic, and perfume industries.  It’s even worse since medical technology joined the party.  If we are no longer satisfied with the effects of putting paints, dyes, bleaches, lotions, and chemicals on our bodies, we have more options; we can enhance our bodies with “cosmetic” procedures, many of them surgical, some of them dangerous.  The list of what women can do — and are really implored to do — to appear sexually attractive is quite long, starting with a little lipstick and ending god-knows-where in the realm of breast augmentation, facelifts, and tummy tucks.  A chirpy song-and-dance routine seems simple by comparison.
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When Blogging is Not Important

April passed in a blur and I only made one blog entry. I had good intentions. First, I was going to write about the tree sperm that descends in a yellow dust storm every spring. I had just discovered that it has health benefits and wanted to share this knowledge (as my nose ran and eyes teared). But then I got too busy with my mom’s trip to NY to celebrate her 90th birthday. I am her primary care-giver and nothing is easy at her age. I was happy to help. She had a wonderful time at her party.

Next, I wanted to elaborate on a recent Facebook post and write about the challenges that working at home poses for an extrovert like me. Judging by the FB comments, there are valid (and comical) opinions both sides. But, this fell in priority when she became ill; coordinating her health care and our return flight was all-consuming. Just when I thought life might return to normal, she went into respiratory failure and was rushed to the hospital.
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How to Leave with Dignity

We’ve come to a point in our lives, my boyfriend and I, where we think about leaving, not each other, but leaving this world… as in dying. We can’t help it; we are faced with this thought all the time.

I saw my father’s slow decline by stroke-induced dementia. I watched this proud, macho, intelligent man, who would have said “shoot me first”, slowly become a child-like version of his former self, unaware of where he was, which was a good thing because he was in a nursing home and in diapers. Luckily, he forgot his wish of being shot first, never asked any of us to oblige, and passed peacefully. My boyfriend flew back and forth to Ohio repeatedly for several years helping two parents with Parkinson’s disease as they struggled to walk, talk, sit, eat, and eventually even breathe. They, too, are gone. And now, I am helping my 90-year-old mom adjust to living in an apartment in a senior community where there is a lot of assistance to make her life easy. It is easy, yes, but it is still not her home. Many of our generation share similar experiences; many of us also say “shoot me first”.
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