Previous month:
June 2013
Next month:
August 2013

July 2013

Forty-Five Years

Today is our forty-fifth wedding anniversary.  I could argue that it should be at least our forty-sixth or forty-seventh because Peter was cautious about commitment back then. At this point, it doesn’t matter that it took us three years and fifteen days (but who’s counting?) between when we met and when we made it official.

Five years ago our kids and grandkids joined us in Western Massachusetts for our fortieth anniversary, but somehow we didn’t get around to planning anything with them this time.  So we will spend today celebrating by walking along the Atlantic Ocean in Marblehead, Massachusetts and having dinner at our favorite anniversary restaurant.

Our love is as solid as the day we met.  If anything, we are more grateful than ever for the forces that brought us together.  But we are also more aware that we must make every moment count.  We are taking good care of each other in the hopes of reporting how we celebrate our fiftieth in the 80-something blog.


The Glenwood Tigers Pep Rally

Last weekend, on the hottest evening of the summer, we went to a pep rally for the Glenwood Tigers, the grandkids’ swim team in Maryland.  The competing kids were dressed in costumes often with tiger tails or painted tiger faces.  They were vying for the title of Mr. or Mrs. Glenwood.

They sang and danced and recited cheers and then answered trivia    questions about the Tiger’s history.

Performances were emceed and judged by some of the teams (very funny) coaches.  Each was followed by appreciative applause from fellow teammates, parents and the only set of grandparents crazy enough to be out in the stifling heat. 

The heartiest applause was for the last performance because they were obviously audience favorites, but even more because an air conditioned vehicle was only moments away. 

Where I Am

When I began writing the 70-something blog five and a half years ago, I had no idea that I would be a graduate student at age 75. But this will not turn into a student blog.  I will continue to comment on the pleasures and challenges on my journey from young-old age to old-old age and I will write about being a student only when it is particularly relevant or when I can’t resist.  

However, I have to say that this week has been a huge transition.  When I walked out of my office on Wednesday to become a student and join my new classmates in (of all things) a quantitative, and then an economics placement exam, my head was spinning with emotions (and not nearly enough economics and math).  And it hasn’t stopped. 

I have 214 new classmates from 62 countries.  We are taking a four-week summer program before the actual school year starts that will prepare us  for the year ahead.  At the same time I will be passing my job responsibilities on to those who are going to take them over.

It’s a bit overwhelming.

On August 30th, the office that has been my second home for years will no longer be mine.  I will have only a locker for my belongings just like I did in high school.  Will my (former) colleagues allow me to store a suitcase or something in their offices if need be?  I think so, but only if they would do it for other students.

I am determined not to look back or to critique my successor.  I am in this for real.

Please stay with me on this journey.



Am I the Luckiest Person?

I’ve never sought the spotlight.  I don’t like to be the center of attention.  I just try to show up--on time, dressed and ready to play, as a beloved colleague used to say.

So on Monday when the announcement of my transformation from Associate Dean of Students to student went out to the faculty and staff of the Kennedy School, I wasn’t prepared for the flood of amazing email responses.  In a way it felt like being at my own funeral without being dead.

People thanked me, called me a pillar of the School and wondered how the School could run “without me.” (I’m sure it will do just fine.) They thought that becoming a student was a brilliant idea and a wonderful way to exit gracefully.  They used the words “bold” and “fearless.”  The responses were astonishing. I was a basket-case of mixed emotions.

I think I will be the oldest graduate of our master’s program, but I am sure  I am the luckiest person ever admitted.

My Emotional Roller Coaster

For a long time now, people have been asking me, “When are you planning to retire?” My reply was always, “I’ll know it when I know it.”

This week I knew it.   

My thirty-three year career in higher education administration at the Harvard Kennedy School has been second only to my family in making my life so blessed.  But I finally realized that if I stayed in my job until I was eighty, leaving it would be no less wrenching.  So why not go out on a high?

Especially since I am leaving without leaving.  On Wednesday, I will become a student at the very institution I love.  I am joining the Mid-Career Masters Program as the oldest entering student ever.  And if I complete the degree, as I intend to, I will walk across the stage and receive my diploma from the colleagues I handed out diplomas with for so many years.

It’s more than daunting to think of papers and exams, and I am scared.

But I’ll give it my best.

Gone Missing--Ten Minutes

Five days a week, our alarm goes off at 6:05 a.m.  Early, but better than 6:00.  I exercise and stretch until 7:00 and am showered and at breakfast no later than 7:30.  I’ve followed that schedule since we moved closer to my job, eighteen years ago. 

My goal has been to be at work by 8:30 and I always am if I have an 8:30 appointment.  But when I don’t, I am never later than 8:45.  Or at least that is the way it used to be.

Lately, I get to my desk at 8:40 regularly, sometimes as late as 8:50.  I’m not doing anything differently, but I seem to have lost ten minutes somewhere.

I’m reminded of my mother’s visits when she was 70-something.  Peter and I and the kids would be dressed and ready to go, wondering what was taking “Mana” so long.

I get it that time goes faster as we age, but something else is going on.

It might be…that I am going slower.

A Century and a Half of Marriage

We spent the 4th of July weekend in the Berkshires.  It was hot, but beautiful.  Our host and hostess invited good friends to join us for lunch on Friday.

We hadn’t seen Jim and Janet in a couple of years, and after the “you look wonderfuls” we settled down to a great catch-up conversation about where we are in our lives.  We all have had our personal challenges, but we agreed that we lucked out in choosing our spouses.

Janet asked us if we “worked” at our marriages.  She said she does and that she loves doing it.

I never thought about whether our 45-year marriage takes work. I see that it takes acceptance of each other’s imperfections.  It takes knowing when to charge forward and when to back off.  It takes compromise.  It takes knowing when to be strong and when it’s OK to be needy. I’m not sure that is work.

The three couples at the luncheon table accounted for a century and a half of marriage, and we’re still counting.


Cranberry Scones

It’s now been more than thirteen years since I had to give up gluten after I was diagnosed with Celiac disease.  So I’m resigned to sitting quietly as friends dig into the crusty bread and virgin olive oil that often greets us at restaurants. 

These days people give up gluten even if it isn’t necessary, something I find astonishing. But there are a lot more gluten-free choices and, more important, a lot more understanding of the importance of avoiding cross-contamination. So things have improved.

If I had to name what I miss the most and have found no substitute for, cranberry scones would be near the top of my list. So when Peter told me that King Arthur Flour had posted a recipe for scones using their gluten-free flour, I wasn’t all that excited. I’ve been disappointed by “substitutes” too many times.

But Peter, out of devotion to me or out of guilt for eating what I can't have right in front of me, decided to bake some cranberry scones.

And last Saturday morning, I had the closest thing to my memory of a scone that I have had in more than thirteen years.  Even Peter thought they were pretty good.  I couldn’t get over it.  It was almost as if I had won the lottery.

That recipe is a keeper.  So is Peter.