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August 2015

Home Sweet Home

Some of our friends have moved out of their houses because they found taking care of them a burden. Although statistics tell us that most of our generation would prefer to remain in their homes, it is a very personal and difficult decision.

We love our home so we are making some adjustments to help us stay here as long as possible. Peter has mowed our lawn for the last time. And because we have lost our battle with some very aggressive weeds, we’ve hired a gardener. He and his co-workers were here last week.  In just a few hours, they transformed our garden (and mowed the lawn).

Why did we wait so long?

Are We Weird, or What?

Our friend Andy eats Kashi’s 7 Whole Grains Puffs for breakfast.  Every morning.  With it, he has a handful of fresh blueberries and half of the banana he shares with his wife Ruth.  Every morning.

I was thinking about that the other day as I ate my default lunch of arugula and romaine lettuce, vine-grown tomatoes, feta cheese, a couple of tablespoons of humus, four mini-carrots, one mini yellow, red or orange pepper, some extra-virgin olive oil and lots of balsamic vinegar.  Delicious.  The salads I get in a restaurant are not as good.

I wondered why Andy and I who are happy to eat the same thing over and over for one of our daily meals, wouldn’t think of eating the same dinner every night.  Does anyone?

This is a phenomenon worth discussing.  Maybe after lunch…

The Cost of Living

“Oh no, not again,” I used to think when my father reminded me that hamburgers used to cost a nickel. Sure, I too, bemoan the rising cost of just about everything.  But I wasn’t prepared for what I found when I happened upon my 1968 to 1971check ledger.

When Peter and I got married in 1968, the rent on our half-house in now-very-expensive Cambridge was $250 a month.  We wrote $15 checks to our cleaning lady, and it looks like $50 in cash was enough to get us through the week.  I ordered something from Lillian Vernon’s catalog (no idea what), and the check I wrote was for $3.23, including postage and handling. And our Harvard Cooperative Society membership was $1.00.

Seth was born in 1970.  His like-new used crib was $25.00 and the DyDee diaper service was $4.00 a week. It cost $3.00 to fill the gas tank of my Volkswagen Beetle.

One consolation--We’re about to renew our Harvard Cooperative Society membership and it’s still $1.00.  


Goodbye to My Dermatologist

I just had my last appointment with my dermatologist.  She is moving on to a teaching position in another part of the state.  I’ve written before about her perfect complexion and sunny disposition.  She’s also one good doctor who examines every mole like it’s the Hope diamond. 

I asked Peter who was also her patient if he wanted me to wish her well on his behalf.

“Yes”, he replied.  “Tell her I’m sorry our relationship was only skin deep.” 

800--and Counting

The “70-something” statistics tell me that this is my 800th blog post.  I don’t know how this has happened.  I write twice a week, and the weeks have turned into nearly eight years.

Whether you have been with me from the beginning or are a newer reader, I am grateful for your time. I hope my observations about my 70’s decade resonate with some of your own experiences and that they will continue to do so.  Or if you aren't 70 yet, I hope you will stay with me in anticipation of many good years to come. 

I have been writing for you and for me, and I continue to learn from the process.

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned.

Kathy (Again)

“70-something” readers have heard me praise Kathy, our personal trainer who comes to us every two months.  We tell Kathy what hurts and she tells us what to do to fix it.

Kathy sees us on the weekends because she has a full-time job in a gym where she has worked for twenty years.  Or, where she did have a full-time job for twenty years.  It seems that the owners of the gym decided to close the branch she worked for.  They told her one recent Monday morning that she and her colleagues no longer had jobs.  Effective immediately.

Kathy offered to work for the rest of the week without pay so that she could say goodbye to her patients and help them make other plans. The owners declined her offer, and turned off her email account.  But not before Kathy downloaded her patients’ email addresses so she could say good-bye and help them make other plans.

The owners of her gym were surprised that her first thoughts would be of others.

We weren’t.

Yes We Have No Bananas

On our first day in Sarasota in January 2014, we decided to go to the beach.  We could see it from our rented condo, but didn’t know how to get there.  Taking the elevator down seemed a good first step. 

When another couple got on the elevator, we asked if they minded directing us to the beach. “Oh, we’ll show you.”

The couple, about our age, but with a strong accent that we later learned was South African, walked us there.  Before they left, they invited us to come to their condo for a glass of wine so that they could tell us about the area.

And thus was born a lovely friendship.  Jan and Clive have lived in Toronto for forty-some years since fleeing South Africa.  Last summer, we spent some time with them in Toronto.  And we all returned to Sarasota this past January. 

We just met them for a long weekend in the Berkshires where they had reserved a time-share apartment. That allowed us to cook when we didn’t feel like going out.  Our breakfast shopping list included bananas.

Up earlier than our friends the next morning, Peter and I made coffee and set the table.  I decided to have a banana.  They weren’t on the kitchen counter.  Nor were they in any of the cupboards.  I concluded that because I distinctly remembered buying them, the grocery store checkout person had forgotten to put them in our bag.  So I settled on a glass of juice and found the bananas.  In the refrigerator!

You may remember the warning by Chiquita Banana (see ) about never putting bananas in the refrigerator.  Well, according to our Canadian friends, it’s OK if you do it when they are ripe.  It actually keeps them from spoiling. 

You can learn a thing or two from strangers you meet in an elevator.

A(nother) Bullet Dodged

Things can change in a millisecond.  But at 70-something, they seem to change way too often.  In the last few months, two close friends (plus Peter) have tripped on uneven sidewalks and mashed their faces.  No permanent damage, but a reminder that our balance isn’t what it used to be, and we need to pay close attention.  Every second.

When my dermatologist discovered something suspicious on my face in early July and told me that she was 90% sure that it wasn’t skin cancer, but would biopsy it anyway, I didn’t give it a second thought.

Until she called me while we were on our road trip to say that it was a basal cell carcinoma that needed to be removed.  She quickly told me that the cure rate was very good and that there was no hurry as it was small and would grow slowly. 

Sixteen days later, I had Mohs surgery by a skilled surgeon who was pleased with the outcome. Besides some restrictions on what I could do for ten days and an unsightly bandage on my face, I seemed to have dodged a(nother) bullet.


Forty-seven Years

After the 50th anniversary of our meeting a couple of weeks ago, our 47th wedding anniversary isn’t earth-shaking news.  But we celebrated it anyway. 

We made a special dinner, preceded by a glass of red wine on our patio.  There was a gentle breeze, and our backyard garden seemed especially beautiful lit by the setting sun.  As we do more often at this stage of life, we noted how lucky we have been.

Peter raised his glass and made a toast to forty-seven more years.  Since that’s not going to happen, I suggested that we make the most of what’s left and try to make a graceful exit when the time comes. 

We drank to that.