Yankees vs. Red Sox

As a child, my dad and I bonded over baseball.  When we lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, it was the Reds.  We moved to Pittsburgh when I was nine, and although it took me a while to change allegiance, I came to love the Pirates.  My father’s business bought box seats on the third base side, and although they were for his clients, it was mostly our family that occupied those seats. 

Now that I have lived in Red Sox Nation for decades, I am a 100% Red Sox fan.  So, when my son Seth invited me to New York City to see a Red Sox-Yankees game, I was thrilled.  That game happened on July 6th.

The Red Sox held their own for a while, including being in the lead for a short time, but one disastrous inning was their downfall.  Still, despite the devasting heat and humidity, I had a wonderful time.  The Yankees fans are so loyal (and loud), but there were a few Red Sox shirts and hats in the stadium.

I couldn’t help but note that baseball fans don’t distinguish between Republicans and Democrats, and I wondered if we could use baseball to unite our troubled country.

It might work.


Bringing Generations Together

There is a lot to be said about the value of inter-generation interaction. 

Recently, I watched a recording on that subject from a panel at Aspen Ideas. Panelist Marc Freedman, author of  How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations, told the following story:

In a senior living facility that encourages young residents by offering them affordable rents, a classical-music-loving 94-year-old woman named Carla became a friend of a young viola-playing next-door neighbor. They formed a deep bond over their love of music.

When the neighbor became engaged to another violist, Carla did not get an invitation to the wedding.  Instead…

She was the maid of honor!


Summer Plans

I wish I had a nickel (or better yet, a $1) for every time recently that someone has asked me if I have “any exciting summer plans”.  I also wish I did have some exciting summer plans.

I recall with great pleasure summer vacations at the ocean when our boys were quite young, and some wonderful trips abroad with them during their teens.  And I remember 25 joy-filled summers of bicycle trips to destinations near and far with Peter and close friends.

But that was then, and this is now.  In summer 2024, I will vacation at home.  I may take day trips to pretty places.  I will explore Boston’s changing waterfront—a whole new world. I will go to a Red Sox/Yankees game in Yankee Stadium with Seth who is in New York for the summer.  And I have been invited to join Jeremy and my grandson Grady for a college visit to Maine. 

Exciting plans?  Maybe not, but it sounds like a pretty good summer to me.


Just a Trip to the Grocery Store

I had a couple of things on my grocery list, nothing urgent, but I hadn’t left the house on one of those very hot days and I thought a change of scenery might be a good idea. So, I persuaded a neighbor to join me for a short visit to the grocery store, and off we went.

The first event of note was when I used brute strength to pull a stuck grocery cart out of the line at the entrance to the store, demonstrating that my weight-lifting practice has been successful.  A much younger man coming in behind us commented on my effectiveness in cart separation and said he’d hate to get in a scuffle with me.  A good start.

Next, we bumped into a neighbor carrying a load of coins that she hoped a machine would turn into dollars.  It did.

We had a lot of trouble finding one item my friend wanted and made a trip around the perimeter of the store before asking for help.  Then, realizing we were  getting some much-needed exercise without working up a sweat, we cruised around the store again.

Number one on my list was a box of Yasso mango ice cream bars.  Well, not surprisingly, there had been a heatwave generated run on ice cream bars, and I had to settle for Yasso’s strawberries and cream.  Turns out it’s not a bad flavor.

It’s amazing how a trip to the grocery store can improve your day.

Happy July 4th!


Happiness Status

In 2023, the United States’ ranking in the United Nations World Happiness Report fell out of the top 20 countries for the first time since measuring began in 2012.  The U.S. dropped from 15th happiest country in 2022 to 23rd  happiest in 2023. Even more troubling, for those under age 30, the U.S. now ranks 62nd in the world in happiness.

However, for people aged 60 or older, the U.S. ranked in the top ten.  That cohort also reported feeling less lonely and more socially connected than the under 30 population. 

The happiest country in the world for the last seven years has been Finland, possibly because as Outside’s website says, “…work-life balance and state-funded education, childcare, and health care are crucial to the population’s overall positive frame of mind.” And according to Frank Martela, a Finnish philosopher and psychology researcher, Finnish people are happy because they have a strong sense of community and relatedness, do good deeds for other people, and find a clear purpose for themselves.”

Too bad it’s so dark there in the winter…

 


Overheated

In my 20’s I loved being tan.  I admit to sitting on a park bench on my lunch hour to catch a few rays at high noon (and I was not alone in that effort).  I never succumbed to the foil sun reflector fad, but I did everything else to ensure my summer-long tan and my stocking-free legs.

Sun-caused wrinkles was not a concern then, and I have paid the price for that lack of information.  However, until now, I could still enjoy my regular walks, hat on and sunscreen where needed. But I am learning that heat waves are hard on us 80-somethings, and so I must accept my phone’s health app scolding me for not walking as much as usual.

The upside—more time for getting through the complete novels of Tara French.

 


M.D.-Free and Lovin' It

As of today, it has been 7.5 weeks since my last medical appointment.

Normally, when I get into my car, it expects to head to one of two medical locations. Earlier this spring, I had so many appointments in one week that I accidentally “let” my car drive to the wrong location and barely made it to the correct place without missing my appointment.

I am grateful for my good medical care because no one I know my age has nothing wrong.  But I don’t like the feeling that going to a doctor is my job!

My extra free time has been delightful—more walking, more writing, more reading—all good. But like all good things, this too comes to an end. In the next four weeks, I have five medical appointments.

Just part of being 80-something.


What Happened to Playing Outside?

I grew up on a street with lots of kids.  Among its many advantages, my best friend’s family got a TV way before we did. 

Except in the winter, we were outside after dinner playing the games that children played back then.  One of my clearest memories is of practicing the piano with a clock above the keyboard so that the minute my required half hour was over, I could join the gang outside in whatever activity was underway.

According to Jonathan Haidt in his new best-selling book The Anxious Generation, childhood has been phone-based rather than play-based since 2012.  Haidt reports that children spend approximately five hours a day on their phones, mostly on social media and to a lesser extent on games.  Haidt asserts that this is a cause of increased mental illness among children.

Obviously, there is another side to this story, but still…

It’s troubling. 


Birthday Greetings

Birthdays are complicated.  It’s part “how lucky I am to be here!” and part “how can I be this old?!”  

I love receiving birthday greetings.  But a birthday card like this, “You know you are getting old when your boobs hang so low you can have a mammogram and a pedicure at the same time” is just plain offensive.   And the greeting card industry needs to hear about this.  A few efforts to combat ageism have produced cards like “You’re at the age when you realize they were all wrong about this age.” Or “Celebrating you never gets old.” A great improvement...

In a statement to AARP, Hallmark said it does have age-positive cards and is shifting its focus to a tone that “aligns with what people want to feel today — thankful, appreciative, wise and accomplished to be ‘getting older’ ”

Ageist birthday cards are reportedly best sellers in the multibillion dollar greeting card industry, so they aren’t going away anytime soon. 

But I won’t be sending you one.


Tall, Taller, Tallest

As a niece of three extra-tall uncles and the sister of a 6’2” brother, I was not surprisingly the tallest girl in my high school class at 5’10”.  (And no, I did not play basketball.)

Also not surprising, my two grandsons are taller than their above-average-tall father. Not sure of the height of the older (6’2-ish I think), but the younger, finishing his junior year of high school is now 6’5”. 

Pictured above, a shorter-than-I used-to-be-me with two very handsome quite tall young men. 

I just had to share this!

(Apologies--I have failed to get the photo to be smaller so you will have to scroll across.)