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November 2016
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December 2016

What 2016 Brought to Me

As I was enjoying my salad at lunch yesterday, I thought about how it had changed this year, namely that I have added avocado. Every day.

I never used to buy avocados because Peter doesn’t like them. But heck, he doesn’t have to put them in his salad. Not only are they delicious, they are really good for me. And I guess I should mention that in 2016, I also started adding kale—a great source of calcium.

That got me to thinking about what else has happened for the good in 2016. Well, we went to a new place that we really liked—Chautauqua, New York. We got a new car that gets around 50 mpg. We took some good courses, read some good books and met some nice people. I had just the right number of coaching clients and I still love sharing my thoughts in this blog.  Not a bad year.

My best wishes for a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

My New Relationship

I’m still adjusting to the end of my more-than-thirty-year-relationship with Kelly who started cutting my hair when she was eighteen. Having a new hairdresser who is less than forty-five minutes away is a good thing, but the downside is not having Kelly in my life.

My new hairdresser, Linda, and I still don’t have my hair quite right. But after three visits, we’re getting there. It takes time to develop a friendship too, especially with such a different person. Lebanese, lots of cussing, strong opinions, enormous breasts, each with its own name, so nice to the mailman who visited each time I’ve been in her shop. My neighbors who have been going to her for years love Linda, so I am hopeful that eventually I will too.

I sent Kelly a Christmas check last week, and from her thank-you email, I realized how well she knows me. Eight years ago, she was the first non-family member I told about Peter’s Parkinson’s Disease. Here is part of her email last week:

“I know the love you have for Peter is immeasurable. It's hard to imagine how much your life is affected and changing due to his Parkinson’s. I also know this has to tear you up, break your heart, frustrate and anger you, and for that I am sorry, and saddened.”

Kelly can see things about me that even I don’t see. She is a hard act to follow. She will always be my hairdresser in my heart.

Poetry Night

For its annual potluck supper, our neighborhood book club asked each member to read a favorite poem. Of course, our focus would be on the food, which has been upgraded several notches since our first time. (Julia Child would have been pleased.)

When we got to the poetry, folks read their favorite Yeats, Tennyson, Frost, or other usual suspects--until it came to me, a certified non-lover of poetry. My selection was not moving or inspirational, but it did receive a round of applause.

Written in about 1980, by the then eight-year-old Jeremy, here is the original manuscript:



As the polar vortex descends, I hope skiing friends will forgive me as I still go for No Snow Is Good Snow.

Where I Want To Be

Before I retired, when the temperature plummeted, I left my bike in the garage and, reluctantly, took the bus to work.

Now, I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to do much of anything. So when the polar vortex came to Boston on Thursday, I decided that I would go out in the arctic chill only if my life depends on it. Well, not quite. I did keep a doctor’s appointment Thursday and on Friday we had dinner out.

But almost every other moment, I could be found on the sofa in our sunroom under my favorite (knit by me eons ago) hunter-green afghan, a cup of herbal tea warming my hands. And now that we’ve had our last learning-in-retirement class for the semester, the book in my hand is one that I chose, not one assigned by others.

I still miss the community I had when I was working, but when the wind chill factor brings the temperature below zero degrees and I am under my hunter-green afghan, retirement doesn’t seem so bad.

Celebrating Florence


It isn’t every day that your half-sister turns 100. It’s especially special when you’ve only known her since she was 82.

That’s why Sunday, on Florence’s birthday, I was happy to host her centennial party. Everyone there (except for her great-grandchildren, ages three and five) have known her far longer than I have.

The party theme was “Queen for a Day.” Her “jeweled" crown was created by our across-the-street neighbor’s seven-year-old who also supplied a boa and a cape. Cards and calls came from all across the country.

Florence doesn’t hear too well, and she uses a walker. She has endured the loss of a son and a grandson. Yet her sense of humor is in excellent working condition and people still want to be with her. She loved being the center of attention.

Onions, Onions, Why Do We Have So Many Onions?

Long-time Saturday-Night-Live fans will remember its mid-1980’s character Ed Grimley, with his pants riding high on his chest, his three-inch pompadour hairdo and his love of Pat Sajak. Played by iconic comedian Martin Short, lines like “I must say.” remain in our family conversations to this day.

In one skit, Ed opens his refrigerator door for something and a lifetime supply of onions comes flying out. “Onions, onions, why do we have so many onions!” he exclaims.

Why did this come to mind, you might ask? Well, let me introduce you to my closet. It seems to have a lifetime supply of black pants-- black linen summer pants, black exercise capris, black corduroy, black summer-weight tights, black wintery stretch pants, black very dressy pants, and one black bottom half of a pantsuit.

I remember hearing Janet Napolitano--or was it Donna Shalala--definitely was one of those short former U.S. cabinet members--saying that she never travels without a pair of black pants—Just rotating the tops gets her from morning to evening events.

Today, when the UPS guy delivered my new black leggings and I added them to the long row of black pants hanging in my closet, I couldn’t help but think, “Black pants, black pants, why do I have so many black pants?”

You can see Martin Short as Ed Grimley here.

To Save or Not To Save

From time to time I go through file drawers looking for things to get rid of. My goal is to have less stuff for our kids to deal with some day.

Yesterday, I came across a bunch of journals, some written during various traumatic times. Reading them again for the first time in years, those times seemed much less traumatic.

For example, when our son Jeremy was denied early admission to his first- choice college, he was devastated. Nothing could persuade him that he was still the same talented, smart person he was before that letter came. It was a very bad week and my journal reflected my concern for him. (By the way, he was accepted at every other school he applied to and loved the one he went to.)

Then there was my celiac disease diagnosis seventeen years ago. It meant that I could no longer eat bread or anything with gluten. I was miserable. To me, there was nothing worth eating if you can’t eat gluten. I remember taking a jar of peanut butter and some rice crackers on our vacation to Africa that summer and that was about all I could eat. (By the way, there are a lot of great gluten-free foods now, and I had forgotten how miserable I had been then.)

I did write about happy times too, but misery made me more prolific. So here’s my dilemma. Do I throw those journals away so that the children don’t see me at my worst? Would they even bother to read them? How about if I keep them just a little longer to remind me that bad things get better?

Losing Jonathan

KAMINSKY, Jonathan Edward Age 38, of Arlington, formerly of New Orleans, Olympia, Seattle, Palau, Berkeley, Brooklyn, Madagascar, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Sweden, on Sunday, November 27, 2016. Journalist, athlete, singer and writer of songs. He is survived by his wife Sarah, sons Adam & Elliot, parents Amy & Ken, brother David, grandmother Florence, and many loving friends.

There is nothing sadder than parents outliving their children. My cousins Amy and Ken moved half-way across the country to be with their son Jonathan during his eighteen months of colon-cancer treatment in Boston and they were here for him and his family every moment of what turned out to be an incurable illness.

Jonathan’s memorial service on Thursday honored his wish that it be a celebration. His friends fought back tears as they spoke. But they also made us laugh with tales of Jonathan’s charming and quirky behavior, his love of music and bad jokes and of course his devotion to Sarah and Adam and Elliot. The ceremony ended with one of his close friends fulfilling Jonathan’s wish to play, “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Ya…” on his guitar. We all joined in.

It felt like Jonathan was there with us.

Another Thanksgiving

                                                               Hasty goodbye note at 4:00 a.m.


Another Thanksgiving is history. My favorite holiday of the year comes around too quickly lately, but each year I am ever more grateful that we are all together.

Our house is a good size for Peter and me. Four people works quite well too. But this year we had eight people plus a very lively dog for five days. So it was pretty chaotic. This time we had to borrow a blowup bed that lived in our basement “exercise room” because Seth brought a friend.

Our grandsons are a force. Leo, almost thirteen, is six feet tall, and he takes up a lot of space. His brother Grady, at ten, seems to be happy as long as he has a mirror to look into. (It’s true, he is gorgeous). The dog whines loudly whenever her “mother” is out. Food is constantly being consumed, and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen although Seth did cook up a fancy meal one night.

We laugh a lot.

I don’t realize how exhausting it is until everyone leaves. But I love every minute of it.