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November 2011
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December 2011

Black and Blue

Black and blue are two of my favorite colors.  But not on my body.

After riding my bike to work for seventeen years, my luck ran out last Thursday. It was a brisk, cool day with full sun, and I was riding through a busy intersection near my house. I had the light.  A car coming in the other direction took a left turn in front of me, and I had no place to go. 

It was quite a scene.  Two people called 911.  Soon I was at the side of the road, surrounded by helpers—the EMT’s, the state police, a colleague from work who came along on his bike and told me he has been hit by a car three times. 

I assured everyone that I was fine, and if my bike hadn’t been badly damaged, I probably would have continued riding it to work.  The driver who hit me is a very nice woman named Pat.  She was appropriately concerned and told me that she would pay for all the damages plus a massage if I needed one.  The police took all the information, a kind stranger gave me his card and said he would be happy to be a witness for me, and then the state police drove me and my damaged bicycle home. 

After all that, I was only thirty minutes late to work, thanks to a ride from Peter.

At the time, I thought I had only bruised an ankle, gotten a small cut where my watch went into my wrist and jammed the middle finger on my right hand.  But that evening I hurt everywhere.  And just as everyone predicted, the next day was worse.

That’s when I saw that I was black and blue all over.  The outside of one arm, the inside of my foot and ankle, the inside of one thigh, the outside of the other and my shoulder.

But all I can think about is how lucky I am to be here.  Another reminder that life can change in the blink of an eye.





Happy Holidays

As people peeled off from work earlier this week, the holiday atmosphere was everywhere.  This is a great time of the year for happy families and a tough time for folks who don’t have families or the means to celebrate in the way they prefer.

But it is also a time to stop and be grateful for what we do have and to make some resolutions about what we can do to make the world better and safer for all the generations that follow.

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and with a bow to Jerry Seinfield, Happy Festivus to all.


My father died thirty-nine years ago at the age of seventy-six.  There are many wonderful stories that I could tell about him, but today I am thinking about him in terms of aches.  I don’t know how old he was when he started answering “How Are You Dad?” with “Arrgh, I ache all over.”

Tonight, after dinner, I was standing at the sink. The dishes were in the dishwasher, but I still had to make a marinade for tomorrow’s dinner and a lunch to take to work.  All I wanted to do was sit down. I ached all over.

Is this my future, aching all over? 

Recently, I noticed that when I stand for a very long time, my back hurts.  And sometimes, if I overdo my exercises on the foam roller, it’s pretty painful.  Not to mention the pain after too much time sitting at my computer.

Still, I broke my temperature record biking to work earlier this week.  Normally, I don’t ride when it is under 26° degrees. But although the thermometer said 21° degrees, the sun was shining and it was supposed to warm up later. I didn’t regret my decision for a minute.  That would have impressed my father, but to me it meant I still can do almost anything.

I’ve heard people my age say that if you wake up in the morning and nothing hurts, you must be dead.

A Glass Half Full

We tend to focus on the negatives of growing older.  But if we can laugh at ourselves, aging is not so bad.  Especially considering the alternative.

It’s in our own best interest to concentrate on the positive.  As my mother often said when I was a moody teenager, “Nobody likes a sourpuss.”

So here is my list of what’s good about being older. 

  • We have come to terms with who we are
  • We can flaunt our age rather than hide it
  • We can pretty much say what we think
  • We can be role models and mentors
  • We have learned from our mistakes
  • We get senior discounts
  • People give us seats on a crowded bus
  • We nurture only the friendships we value
  • We don’t have to negotiate who stays home when the kids get sick
  • Although we forget some things, some things are better forgotten
  • And perhaps best of all, we have the unconditional love of our grandchildren



As You Grow Older...

I have banned the phrase “As you get older” from my house.  (I tried to ban the grunt-like sound that we utter as we sink into chairs, but even I can’t give that up.)  Truth to tell, it is Peter who often starts sentences with “As you grow older,” and it drives me crazy.  Probably because there is so much truth to it.

So here is a partial list of things that happen “As you grow older”.  Just don’t repeat them in my house.

As you grow older

  • Travel insurance costs more
  • It's hard to get up from a sofa
  • You have less energy
  • You forget names
  • You start to read books that you have already read
  • You can't hear as well except for the loud music at weddings
  • You feel colder
  • Everything takes longer
  • Print gets smaller
  • Lights get dimmer
  • Time goes faster

Stay tuned for my list of what gets better “As you get older.”

What, Me Retire?

Friends, family, and even strangers ask me when I plan to retire.  (My colleagues never ask which is a good thing.)

I’m old enough, but a couple of years ago I said “no” to a generous retirement package because I love my job.  However, the day will come when I will leave it, hopefully standing on my own two feet.

There are times when I think I should just set a date.  But I’m not ready.  At seventy-three, I can say with conviction that I won’t be working ten years from now.  Should I retire in June?  A year from now? When I am seventy-five? 

On Wednesday, I attended the annual holiday dinner hosted by our Executive Dean and Chief Operating Officer.  Every year we do a Yankee Swap at dinner.  (If you don’t know what that is, see

This year I got the gift no one wanted, recycled by the person who got it last year and didn’t want it.  So now, I can say with certainty that I will still be in my job a year from now.

I can’t imagine missing next year’s holiday dinner when I will be able to re-gift that Christmas tree hat with its flashing colored lights.

Happy Holidays

Trip Advisors

We have vacationed with our friends Gordon and Christa for almost twenty-five years.  During that time, we never gave much thought to the division of responsibility among the four of us for planning and carrying out our trips.  We would agree on a destination and later get together with maps and calendars over a glass of wine to work out the details. 

But on our recent trip to Argentina, Christa and I noticed that we wives were taking a bit more of the lead in the planning and execution of our trip than in the past.  She and I agreed that the almost-ten-year age difference between our husbands and us is beginning to make a difference. 

Christa and I know that we are lucky to have long and happy marriages.  We are glad to take on more as the years go by.  However, the odds are that we will outlive our spouses. 

And then, who will take care of us?

Gray Matters

The Scene:  My office

Present:  Me and two attractive thirty-something female staff members Topic:  Gray hairs

Staff member 1:  I pulled out my SECOND GRAY HAIR this morning.  That makes a total of two gray hairs.

Staff member 2:  Two is all you got?!  I’m pulling them out all the time.

#1:  And they are coarse and wiry.

#2:  Even worse, with my curly hair, I’m going to look like I have a continuous electric shock going on when I am really gray.

#1:  I’m definitely going to cover them up soon.

#2:  I told my hair dresser that I am counting on her to let me know when it’s time to start coloring my hair because I can’t see the back of my head.

Their boss (me) has been gray for thirty-five years.  I had nothing to contribute to the conversation.

But I smiled.




Recently, a couple of our friends have suggested that Peter is looking a bit frail.  It’s hard for me to notice any change because I am with him every day.  But as I look a little closer, it seems that they may be right. After all, as our children remind me, “He’s no spring chicken.”

No matter, he is still the person I adore, and I am thankful for every day we have together.

As we held each other before drifting off to sleep the other night, I thought about how our bodies fit together so well, how comfortable they are together still and how we know every inch of one another as if we were one.