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July 2019

Walking Alone

My walking partner didn’t show up Wednesday morning.  Very unlike her.  I worried—needlessly, it turned out, because I had gotten the date wrong.

As long as I was out on the street, I decided to do our long “together” walk around the Charles River rather than my shorter “alone” neighborhood route.

It was a different experience.  First, it seemed to take longer.  When we walk, we talk, and we are always amazed by how quickly the time goes by.

Instead of being annoyed by the gaggle of Canadian geese I met Wednesday morning, I said “hello” to them.  On the bridge across the Charles River, I bumped into two former work colleagues, and we had a little chat about the old days.

I have to confess that I picked a few wildflowers along the way—they were so beautiful and there were so many that I didn’t think the wildflower police would miss them.

I wouldn’t want to walk alone all the time, but Wednesday's walk filled me with gratitude that I could walk and that I could do it in such a beautiful place.


Visit with Val

Valerie, my former across-the-street neighbor, moved from Massachusetts to New York City in 1989.  When her family arrived on Ridge Road more than forty years ago, her twin daughters fit into one carriage.  Once we traded one of our sons for one of her daughters for a school week because they had only girls and we had only boys and we wanted to see how the other half lived. Now she has five grandchildren. 

We still talk every Sunday.

Last week instead of running across the street to see her, I drove to Plymouth, MA. which is about halfway between Falmouth where Val is vacationing on Cape Cod and Cambridge where I am.  We arrived within minutes of each other at the random restaurant we had chosen with the help of Google and gabbed non-stop until we had stayed too long. Then we drove together to a beautiful nearby beach, sat on a big rock and gabbed some more.

The terrible traffic on my way home didn’t bother me. 



How Old We Feel

On June 30th I asked you to tell me how old you feel as compared to how old the calendar says you are.  Here are the unscientifically-gathered, anecdotally-reported, prove-nothing, but interesting, results.

Almost everyone said they feel younger than they are.  One or two respondents weren’t “sure”.  The rest of us felt anywhere from ten to twenty years younger. One who had just pushed a big rock up a hill in her garden reported feeling twenty at that moment. Many of you said that regular exercising, including Pilates, yoga, and walking kept you feeling young.  A few of us lift weights.  One reported that how old she felt depended on how much sleep she had gotten the night before.

Here’s what Peter who is 89 and my most loyal reader wrote:

    I'm not sure I know what it means to feel an age.  I know what age I don't feel I am: Young. I don't think about my age until something or someone points it out to me.  I feel old (maybe 60) when my back aches.  I felt old (maybe 21) when I was 16 and a kid who was in an elevator with me and referred to me as "that man".  I felt really old (61) when a pregnant woman offered me her seat on the subway.  I'm easily swayed.  I don't feel as old (or young) as I feel I am.  I feel as old as other people feel I am which, most of the time fortunately, is younger than what the calendar tells me at those rare times when I remember what year it is.

Thanks to all.

Knees News

I had my right knee replaced twelve years ago.  The surgery went smoothly.  The recovery did not.  Physical therapy hurt.  Working from my sofa was painful.  It took about a year for the swelling to go away.  To this day, people tell me I have a run in my stocking because I have a ten-inch vertical white scar through the center of my knee. 

I decided that one knee replacement was enough.  I vowed to keep my left knee unreplaced forever.

About a year ago, I began to have a little discomfort in that left knee. I ignored it until I couldn’t.  I decided to wait until summer was over before I sought help, but my friend/trainer Kathy said waiting was a bad idea because you have more options if you catch it before it is bone-on-bone. She mentioned something called Synvisc, a shot that puts a gel-like cushion between the bones. 

My X-ray showed severe osteoarthritis, but it wasn’t bone-on-bone yet.  My primary care doctor referred me to orthopedics.

I haven’t had much good medical news lately, so I was prepared for the worst.  But, not only did the doctor tell me that my replaced right knee still looked great,  she gave me a shot of Synvisc in my left knee that has already, just four days later, given me noticeable relief.

Good news for a change. 



Hot Pots

Attention:  Monday and Tuesday are Amazon Prime Days.  This is the fifth year that Amazon will offer its bargain-loving customers short windows of savings on many popular items in honor of its own birthday.  Only those who have “Amazon Prime” ($119 a year for a membership that includes free shipping) may participate, meaning that potentially 101-million people could be competing with you for a limited supply of robot vacuum cleaners.

(I have heard that other big stores are hoping to join in the fun by matching Prime Day prices—no membership required.)

Last year Amazon sold 300,000 hot pots on Prime Day.  It boggles my mind to think of Amazon employees scurrying around warehouses looking for hot pots to pack into boxes for delivery to 300,000 customers all over the world.

I don’t own a hot pot.  I don’t want more “things.”  I will not be tempted by Amazon Prime Days.

Will you?


How Healthy Do You Feel?

Next Avenue is a digital platform produced by PBS.  Simply put, it is a website that produces excellent articles aimed at baby boomers. 

A story last week, The Surprising Way Older Adults Describe Their Health reported that most older people feel healthy more often than we think they do, even though about 60% of them have two or more chronic illnesses.

In the 2017 National Health Interview Survey, 82% of adults ages 65 to 74 described their health as excellent. So did 73% of adults 75 or older.

Younger people have different assumptions about their health. They believe that their health should be perfect so anything less is bad.

For baby boomers and those even older, resilience, gratitude and realistic expectations all play roles in how we feel about how we feel. 

Like so many things in life, it’s all about expectations. 


You can get on the Next Avenue mailing list here.




We don’t know all the neighbors on our corridor very well.  But we have been observing Naomi.  She is a very tiny 90-year old who goes out every day, no matter what the temperature.  She’s bundled up like an Eskimo in the winter and under a big hat in the summer.  We hear classical music coming from her condo, and rumor has it that she was a wonderful classics professor. She walked 2.1 miles each way to Boston University every day.

Peter talked to her at our condo’s community cookout last week and offered to help her with her computer.  He spent about a half hour with her the next day.  He was unable to help her deal with her 20,000 unread emails! They agreed that she needed to go to the Apple Genius Bar.

On Wednesday, Naomi and I were waiting for the elevator together and we chatted about the hot day and then she asked, “Is that man you live with your father or your husband?”

I discussed this with Peter. We’re not sure whether I look young or he looks old.  Maybe both.  I still grin when I think about it. 

Peter thinks Naomi needs to get her eyes examined.

Where Did theYear Go?

It’s July.  How is that possible?  In just a few weeks, we will have been back in Cambridge for a year.  Our apartment feels much more like home now.  Its imperfections are still here, but we are used to them.  We have established some routines.  We know when to avoid the laundry room and how to get rid of stuff that’s too big for the trash chute.

Our landlord has extended our lease for another year so we’re actually considering buying towels that match our bathrooms.  We’ve gotten used to the sound of traffic and never tire of our wonderful view of the crews rowing down the Charles River at dawn.

Most of all, we are happy to be with our friends of so many years.  And we’ve made some new friends too.  We are happy to be back with our doctors although we wish we didn’t see them so often. 

Do we miss anything about our life in Washington, DC?  Yes.  Being near our kids and grandkids was amazing.  It just wasn’t enough.